The Word of God

December 31, 2020


For the readings of the Optional Memorial of Saint Sylvester I, please go here.

The Seventh Day in the Octave of Christmas
Lectionary: 204

Reading 1 – 1 JN 2:18-21

Children, it is the last hour;
and just as you heard that the antichrist was coming,
so now many antichrists have appeared.
Thus we know this is the last hour.
They went out from us, but they were not really of our number;
if they had been, they would have remained with us.
Their desertion shows that none of them was of our number.
But you have the anointing that comes from the Holy One,
and you all have knowledge.
I write to you not because you do not know the truth
but because you do, and because every lie is alien to the truth.

Responsorial Psalm – 96:1-2, 11-12, 13

R.     (11A) Let the heavens be glad and the earth rejoice!
Sing to the LORD a new song;
sing to the LORD, all you lands.
Sing to the LORD; bless his name;
announce his salvation, day after day.
R.    Let the heavens be glad and the earth rejoice!
Let the heavens be glad and the earth rejoice;
let the sea and what fills it resound;
let the plains be joyful and all that is in them!
Then shall all the trees of the forest exult before the LORD.
R.    Let the heavens be glad and the earth rejoice!
The LORD comes,
he comes to rule the earth.
He shall rule the world with justice
and the peoples with his constancy.
R.    Let the heavens be glad and the earth rejoice!

Alleluia – JN 1:14A, 12A

R. Alleluia, alleluia.
The Word of God became flesh and dwelt among us.
To those who accepted him
he gave power to become the children of God.
R. Alleluia, alleluia.

Gospel – JN 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-begotten 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-begotten Son, God, who is at the Father’s side,
has revealed him.

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December 31, 2020 – Memorial of Saint Sylvester I, pope


For the readings on The Seventh Day in the Octave of Christmas, please go here.

Optional Memorial of Saint Sylvester I, pope
Lectionary: 700

Reading 1 – EZ 34:11-16

Thus says the Lord GOD:
I myself will look after and tend my sheep.
As a shepherd tends his flock
when he finds himself among his scattered sheep,
so will I tend my sheep.
I will rescue them from every place where they were scattered
when it was cloudy and dark.
I will lead them out from among the peoples
and gather them from the foreign lands;
I will bring them back to their own country
and pasture them upon the mountains of Israel
in the land’s ravines and all its inhabited places.
In good pastures will I pasture them,
and on the mountain heights of Israel
shall be their grazing ground.
There they shall lie down on good grazing ground,
and in rich pastures shall they be pastured
on the mountains of Israel.
I myself will pasture my sheep;
I myself will give them rest, says the Lord GOD.
The lost I will seek out,
the strayed I will bring back,
the injured I will bind up,
the sick I will heal,
but the sleek and the strong I will destroy,
shepherding them rightly.

Responsorial Psalm – PS 23:1-3A, 4, 5, 6

R.    (1)  The Lord is my shepherd; there is nothing I shall want.
The LORD is my shepherd; I shall not want.
In verdant pastures he gives me repose;
Beside restful waters he leads me;
he refreshes my soul.
R.    The Lord is my shepherd; there is nothing I shall want.
Even though I walk in the dark valley
I fear no evil; for you are at my side
With your rod and your staff
that give me courage.
R.    The Lord is my shepherd; there is nothing I shall want.
You spread the table before me
in the sight of my foes;
You anoint my head with oil;
my cup overflows.
R.    The Lord is my shepherd; there is nothing I shall want.
Only goodness and kindness follow me
all the days of my life;
And I shall dwell in the house of the LORD
for years to come.
R.    The Lord is my shepherd; there is nothing I shall want.

Alleluia – MK 1:17

R.    Alleluia, alleluia.
Come after me, says the Lord,
and I will make you fishers of men.
R.    Alleluia, alleluia.

Gospel – MT 16:13-19

When Jesus went into the region of Caesarea Philippi
he asked his disciples,
“Who do people say that the Son of Man is?”
They replied, “Some say John the Baptist, others Elijah,
still others Jeremiah or one of the prophets.”
He said to them, “But who do you say that I am?”
Simon Peter said in reply,
“You are the Christ, the Son of the living God.”
Jesus said to him in reply, “Blessed are you, Simon son of Jonah.
For flesh and blood has not revealed this to you, but my heavenly Father.
And so I say to you, you are Peter,
and upon this rock I will build my Church,
and the gates of the netherworld shall not prevail against it.
I will give you the keys to the Kingdom of heaven.
Whatever you bind on earth shall be bound in heaven;
and whatever you loose on earth shall be loosed in heaven.”

Saint Sylvester I, Pope
c. Late Third century—335

A new captain pilots the ship of the Church in calmer seas

One thousand four hundred years before Christ, approximately when Moses led the Jewish people out of Egypt, a pharaoh ordered his slaves to hew an enormous obelisk out of a bank of stone. It was the largest monolithic obelisk ever cut. While it was still recumbent, craftsmen carved hieroglyphs up and down its narrow sides. Then, it was hoisted upright to adorn a temple of Aten, a sub-deity of the Egyptian sun god Ra. And there the giant obelisk stood watch over the endless desert, like a lighthouse, for a thousand years. In the mid-fourth century A.D., a pharaoh of the West, the Roman Emperor Constantius II, wanted the obelisk to grace a new city. So it was dragged out of the sands of remote Egypt and placed on a specially constructed ship. It floated down the Nile, across the Mediterranean, and up the Tiber to Rome. This colossal ancient artifact, the largest of its kind in the world, stands today ramrod straight before the Basilica of St. John Lateran. And the name of today’s saint, Pope Sylvester I, is carved into its base.

Little is known of Saint Sylvester, though there are legends. He succeeded to the Chair of St. Peter in 314. This was soon after the military triumph of Constantine and his Edict of Milan granting toleration to Christians. Constantine did not make Christianity the official religion of the Empire. This would not occur until 380. But Constantine did give the Church breathing space. The Church could now simply be herself. And so the faithful poured out of the dark confines of their house churches and into the open-aired basilicas. There were processions, statues erected in public, a new Christian calendar, sermons preached in the open, and proud bishops to lead a grateful people. Pope Sylvester led the Church as it grew by leaps and bounds, becoming the primary institution in the Roman Empire, even replacing the imperial government itself. Sylvester must have been a capable and even-handed leader. As pagan Rome slowly transformed into Christian Rome, any number of missteps could have halted the evolutionary process. But Sylvester and his successors stood confidently at the helm, kept a steady hand on the ship’s wheel, and guided the Barque of Peter to harbor with great tact.

Pope Sylvester did not attend the all-important Council of Nicea in 325, instead sending four legates. Constantine called the Council, kissed the palms of tortured bishops, was present at some of its sessions, and threw a large banquet at its conclusion. The Council was composed almost entirely of bishops and theologians from the East. Saints Hilary, Ambrose, Augustine, and Leo were still to come in the West. Real theology was done in Egypt, Syria, Palestine, and Asia Minor. Rome was in decline. Even Constantine himself fled Rome and re-established the imperial capital in Constantinople in 330. Yet…the Bishop of Rome was still the jurisdictional and symbolic head of the body of Christ. All looked to him for approbation if not enlightenment. All turned their heads and craned their necks to listen to what he said. The Bishop of Rome had no equal. It was this role that Sylvester fulfilled. He did not generate theology, but he did validate it and stiffen it with institutional force.

The inscription at the base of the Lateran obelisk states that it marks the location where Saint Sylvester baptized Constantine. This is now known to be an error. The religiously ambiguous Constantine was baptized in Northwest Turkey just before he died in 337, two years after Sylvester had passed. Saint Sylvester was buried near the Catacombs of Saint Priscilla. His remains were transferred in the eighth century to a church in the heart of Rome named in his honor, San Silvestro in Capite, where his stone cathedra, or papal throne, can still be seen and his remains still venerated. San Silvestro in Capite was built over the rubble of a pagan temple dedicated to the unconquered sun (sol invictus). It was precisely this Roman god whom Constantine abandoned when he accepted Jesus Christ. And it was the sun god of Egypt who was originally honored by the Lateran obelisk. A cross now crowns the obelisk. Rome’s massive Corpus Christi procession begins every year at the Lateran Basilica near the obelisk. No more pharaohs. No more emperors. No more sun gods. A new leader carries God in his hands, and His blessed people follow in solemn procession.

Saint Sylvester, give to our Holy Father a measure of your steadiness and courage in guiding a people from false to true belief, from darkness to light, and from chains to freedom. Help our Pope to sanctify, shepherd, and govern well in an often hostile atmosphere.

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December 30, 2020


The Sixth Day in the Octave of Christmas
Lectionary: 203

Reading 1 – 1 JN 2:12-17

I am writing to you, children,
because your sins have been forgiven for his name’s sake.

I am writing to you, fathers,
because you know him who is from the beginning.

I am writing to you, young men,
because you have conquered the Evil One.

I write to you, children,
because you know the Father.

I write to you, fathers,
because you know him who is from the beginning.

I write to you, young men,
because you are strong and the word of God remains in you,
and you have conquered the Evil One.

Do not love the world or the things of the world.
If anyone loves the world, the love of the Father is not in him.
For all that is in the world,
sensual lust, enticement for the eyes, and a pretentious life,
is not from the Father but is from the world.
Yet the world and its enticement are passing away.
But whoever does the will of God remains forever.

Responsorial Psalm – 96:7-8A, 8B-9, 10

R.    (11A) Let the heavens be glad and the earth rejoice!
Give to the LORD, you families of nations,
give to the LORD glory and praise;
give to the LORD the glory due his name!
R.    Let the heavens be glad and the earth rejoice!
Bring gifts, and enter his courts;
worship the LORD in holy attire.
Tremble before him, all the earth.
R.    Let the heavens be glad and the earth rejoice!
Say among the nations: The LORD is king.
He has made the world firm, not to be moved;
he governs the peoples with equity.
R.    Let the heavens be glad and the earth rejoice!

Alleluia

R. Alleluia, alleluia.
A holy day has dawned upon us.
Come, you nations, and adore the Lord.
Today a great light has come upon the earth.
R. Alleluia, alleluia.

Gospel – LK 2:36-40

There was a prophetess, Anna,
the daughter of Phanuel, of the tribe of Asher.
She was advanced in years,
having lived seven years with her husband after her marriage,
and then as a widow until she was eighty-four.
She never left the temple,
but worshiped night and day with fasting and prayer.
And coming forward at that very time,
she gave thanks to God and spoke about the child
to all who were awaiting the redemption of Jerusalem.

When they had fulfilled all the prescriptions
of the law of the Lord,
they returned to Galilee,
to their own town of Nazareth.
The child grew and became strong, filled with wisdom;
and the favor of God was upon him.

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December 29, 2020


For the readings of the Optional Memorial of Saint Thomas Becket, please go here.

The Fifth Day in the Octave of Christmas
Lectionary: 202

Reading 1 – 1 JN 2:3-11

Beloved:
The way we may be sure that we know Jesus
is to keep his commandments.
Whoever says, “I know him,” but does not keep his commandments
is a liar, and the truth is not in him.
But whoever keeps his word,
the love of God is truly perfected in him.
This is the way we may know that we are in union with him:
whoever claims to abide in him ought to walk just as he walked.

Beloved, I am writing no new commandment to you
but an old commandment that you had from the beginning.
The old commandment is the word that you have heard.
And yet I do write a new commandment to you,
which holds true in him and among you,
for the darkness is passing away,
and the true light is already shining.
Whoever says he is in the light,
yet hates his brother, is still in the darkness.
Whoever loves his brother remains in the light,
and there is nothing in him to cause a fall.
Whoever hates his brother is in darkness;
he walks in darkness
and does not know where he is going
because the darkness has blinded his eyes.

Responsorial Psalm – 96:1-2A, 2B-3, 5B-6

R.    (11A)  Let the heavens be glad and the earth rejoice!
Sing to the LORD a new song;
sing to the LORD, all you lands.
Sing to the LORD; bless his name.
R.    Let the heavens be glad and the earth rejoice!
Announce his salvation, day after day.
Tell his glory among the nations;
among all peoples, his wondrous deeds.
R.    Let the heavens be glad and the earth rejoice!
The LORD made the heavens.
Splendor and majesty go before him;
praise and grandeur are in his sanctuary.
R.    Let the heavens be glad and the earth rejoice!

Alleluia – LK 2:32

R. Alleluia, alleluia.
A light of revelation to the Gentiles
and glory for your people Israel.
R. Alleluia, alleluia.

Gospel – LK 2:22-35

When the days were completed for their purification
according to the law of Moses,
the parents of Jesus took him up to Jerusalem
to present him to the Lord,
just as it is written in the law of the Lord,
Every male that opens the womb shall be consecrated to the Lord,
and to offer the sacrifice of
a pair of turtledoves or two young pigeons,
in accordance with the dictate in the law of the Lord.

Now there was a man in Jerusalem whose name was Simeon.
This man was righteous and devout,
awaiting the consolation of Israel,
and the Holy Spirit was upon him.
It had been revealed to him by the Holy Spirit
that he should not see death
before he had seen the Christ of the Lord.
He came in the Spirit into the temple;
and when the parents brought in the child Jesus
to perform the custom of the law in regard to him,
he took him into his arms and blessed God, saying:

“Lord, now let your servant go in peace;
your word has been fulfilled:
my own eyes have seen the salvation
which you prepared in the sight of every people,
a light to reveal you to the nations
and the glory of your people Israel.”

The child’s father and mother were amazed at what was said about him;
and Simeon blessed them and said to Mary his mother,
“Behold, this child is destined
for the fall and rise of many in Israel,
and to be a sign that will be contradicted
(and you yourself a sword will pierce)
so that the thoughts of many hearts may be revealed.”

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December 29, 2020 – Memorial of Saint. Thomas Becket, Bishop and Martyr


For the readings on The Fifth Day in the Octave of Christmas, please go here.

Memorial of Saint Thomas Becket, Bishop and Martyr
Lectionary: 699

Reading 1 – 2 TM 2:8-13; 3:10-12

Beloved:
Remember Jesus Christ, raised from the dead, a descendant of David:
such is my Gospel, for which I am suffering,
even to the point of chains, like a criminal.
But the word of God is not chained.
Therefore, I bear with everything for the sake of those who are chosen,
so that they too may obtain the salvation that is in Christ Jesus,
together with eternal glory.
This saying is trustworthy:

If we have died with him
we shall also live with him;
if we persevere
we shall also reign with him.
But if we deny him
he will deny us.
If we are unfaithful
he remains faithful,
for he cannot deny himself.

You have followed my teaching, way of life,
purpose, faith, patience, love,
endurance, persecutions, and sufferings,
such as happened to me in Antioch, Iconium, and Lystra,
persecutions that I endured.
Yet from all these things the Lord delivered me.
In fact, all who want to live religiously in Christ Jesus
will be persecuted.

Responsorial Psalm – PS 34:2-3, 4-5, 6-7, 8-9

R.    (5) The Lord delivered me from all my fears.
I will bless the LORD at all times;
his praise shall be ever in my mouth.
Let my soul glory in the LORD;
the lowly will hear and be glad.
R.    The Lord delivered me from all my fears.
Glorify the LORD with me,
let us together extol his name.
I sought the LORD, and he answered me
and delivered me from all my fears.
R.    The Lord delivered me from all my fears.
Look to him that you may be radiant with joy,
and your faces may not blush with shame.
When the poor one called out, the LORD heard,
and from all his distress he saved him.
R.    The Lord delivered me  from all my fears.
The angel of the LORD encamps
around those who fear him, and delivers them.
Taste and see how good the LORD is;
blessed the man who takes refuge in him.
R.    The Lord delivered me from all my fears.

Alleluia – MT 5:6

R.    Alleluia, alleluia.

Blessed are those who hunger and thirst for righteousness;
for they will be satisfied.

R.    Alleluia, alleluia.

Gospel – MT 16:24-27

Jesus said to all,
“Whoever wishes to come after me, must deny himself,
take up his cross, and follow me.
For whoever wishes to save his life will lose it,
but whoever loses his life for my sake will save it.
What profit would there be for one to gain the whole world
and forfeit his life?
Or what can one give in exchange for his life?
For the Son of Man will come with his angels in his Father’s glory,
and then he will repay each one according to his conduct.”

Saint Thomas Becket, Bishop and Martyr
1119–1170

Murder in the Cathedral!

Four knights hustled down the nave of England’s Canterbury Cathedral, weighed down with tackle, and found the church’s strong man. Eyes narrowed. Teeth clenched. Hard words were spit back and forth. Tempers. A tussle. Then the four knights brutishly struck down Thomas Becket, his blood defiling the sanctuary. People quickly flooded the Cathedral, but no one touched the dead body, none even dared go near it. The news blew like an ill wind through all of Europe. The December spilling of an Archbishop’s blood in his own Metropolitan Cathedral, a sin joining martyrdom with sacrilege, was perhaps the most stunning deed of the High Middle Ages. 

Our saint referred to himself as “Thomas of London” and said his enemies alone styled him “Becket.” He was not of noble blood and rose in the Church primarily through the patronage of an admiring Archbishop, who dispatched Thomas to Rome several times on sensitive Church-Sate missions. Thomas was appointed Chancellor by English King Henry II, cementing their warm, personal bond. Perhaps hoping friendship had softened Thomas’ resistance to the royal will, the King proposed his friend as Archbishop of Canterbury, the head of the English Church. The decision was ratified by the Pope, so Thomas, who had remained a Deacon until that point, was quickly ordained a priest and then consecrated a bishop. But his appointment to high ecclesial office poisoned Thomas’ friendship with Henry II, led to years of exile, and ultimately drove those four determined knights through the doors of Canterbury Cathedral. 

Thomas Becket was a complex man in whose soul formidable virtues swirled as one with powerful vices. He was volatile, easily provoked, and vain. He relished the magnificence of his high status and travelled with a personal retinue of two hundred servants, knights, musicians, and falconers. He fought for England on the battlefield, engaging in hand-to-hand combat while vested in chain mail. But Thomas also fasted, endured severe penances, prayed devoutly, was generous with the poor, and lived a life of purity. Being ordained a bishop helped to cool his temper, abate his pride, and refine his coarser traits.

England’s two strongest men were destined to clash over their exclusive loyalties to Holy Church and Holy Realm. King Henry II demanded significant concessions from England’s bishops: the abolishing of ecclesiastical courts, no appeals to Rome without the King’s approval, and no excommunication of landholders without the Crown’s consent. The King also imposed higher taxes on the Church and curtailed priest’s rights. Thomas was aghast at the demands of his former friend and resisted the Crown’s demands at every step. The wick was now lit, and the flame slowly burned its way toward the explosive murder in the Cathedral.

In reaction to the King’s overreach, Thomas fled to France, met with the Pope, resigned, fretted, was reinstated, and waited. The struggle between State power and Church freedom dragged on for six years as various complex intrigues played themselves out. Thomas finally returned to England on December 1, 1170, to an admixture of hostility and joy. He would not live to the end of the month, and he knew it. In a fit of incandescent rage, King Henry II asked to be rid of Thomas, vague words taken to their most violent extreme by the four killers. When they rushed into the sanctuary, the knights shouted, “Where is Thomas the traitor?” Thomas replied, “Here I am, no traitor, but Archbishop and priest of God.” Thomas’ brains were soon washed over the floor. King Henry II did public penance, the Knights sought forgiveness from the Pope himself, and Becket was rapidly canonized. Saint Thomas Becket’s ornate tomb became a place of pilgrimage for centuries, until it was desecrated by a later King Henry, the eighth of that name, in 1538, when royal spasms once again brought violent blows down on the Church.

Saint Thomas Becket, your last few heroic minutes on earth made you a saint. Help all bishops, priests, and deacons to emulate your manly virtues in standing strong for the Church in season and out of season, whatever the cost, their whole life long.

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December 28, 2020


Feast of the Holy Innocents, Martyrs
Lectionary: 698

Reading 1 – 1 JN 1:5—2:2

Beloved:
This is the message that we have heard from Jesus Christ
and proclaim to you:
God is light, and in him there is no darkness at all.
If we say, “We have fellowship with him,”
while we continue to walk in darkness,
we lie and do not act in truth.
But if we walk in the light as he is in the light,
then we have fellowship with one another,
and the Blood of his Son Jesus cleanses us from all sin.
If we say, “We are without sin,”
we deceive ourselves, and the truth is not in us.
If we acknowledge our sins, he is faithful and just
and will forgive our sins and cleanse us from every wrongdoing.
If we say, “We have not sinned,” we make him a liar,
and his word is not in us.

My children, I am writing this to you
so that you may not commit sin.
But if anyone does sin, we have an Advocate with the Father,
Jesus Christ the righteous one.
He is expiation for our sins,
and not for our sins only but for those of the whole world.

Responsorial Psalm – 124:2-3, 4-5, 7CD-8

R.    (7) Our soul has been rescued like a bird from the fowler’s snare.
Had not the LORD been with us—
When men rose up against us,
then would they have swallowed us alive,
When their fury was inflamed against us.
R.    Our soul has been rescued like a bird from the fowler’s snare.
Then would the waters have overwhelmed us;
The torrent would have swept over us;
over us then would have swept the raging waters.
R.    Our soul has been rescued like a bird from the fowler’s snare.
Broken was the snare,
and we were freed.
Our help is in the name of the LORD,
who made heaven and earth.
R.    Our soul has been rescued like a bird from the fowler’s snare.

Alleluia Te Deum

R. Alleluia, alleluia.
We praise you, O God,
we acclaim you as Lord;
the white-robed army of martyrs praise you.
R. Alleluia, alleluia.

Gospel – MT 2:13-18

When the magi had departed, behold,
the angel of the Lord appeared to Joseph in a dream and said,
“Rise, take the child and his mother, flee to Egypt,
and stay there until I tell you.
Herod is going to search for the child to destroy him.”
Joseph rose and took the child and his mother by night
and departed for Egypt.
He stayed there until the death of Herod,
that what the Lord had said through the prophet might be fulfilled,
Out of Egypt I called my son.

When Herod realized that he had been deceived by the magi,
he became furious.
He ordered the massacre of all the boys in Bethlehem and its vicinity
two years old and under,
in accordance with the time he had ascertained from the magi.
Then was fulfilled what had been said through Jeremiah the prophet:

A voice was heard in Ramah,
sobbing and loud lamentation;
Rachel weeping for her children,
and she would not be consoled,
since they were no more.

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December 27, 2020


The Holy Family of Jesus, Mary and Joseph
Lectionary: 17

Reading 1 – SIR 3:2-6, 12-14

God sets a father in honor over his children;
a mother’s authority he confirms over her sons.
Whoever honors his father atones for sins,
and preserves himself from them.
When he prays, he is heard;
he stores up riches who reveres his mother.
Whoever honors his father is gladdened by children,
and, when he prays, is heard.
Whoever reveres his father will live a long life;
he who obeys his father brings comfort to his mother.

My son, take care of your father when he is old;
grieve him not as long as he lives.
Even if his mind fail, be considerate of him;
revile him not all the days of his life;
kindness to a father will not be forgotten,
firmly planted against the debt of your sins
—a house raised in justice to you.

Or – Gn 15:1-6; 21:1-3

The word of the LORD came to Abram in a vision, saying:
“Fear not, Abram!
I am your shield;
I will make your reward very great.”
But Abram said,
“O Lord GOD, what good will your gifts be,
if I keep on being childless
and have as my heir the steward of my house, Eliezer?”
Abram continued,
“See, you have given me no offspring,
and so one of my servants will be my heir.”
Then the word of the LORD came to him:
“No, that one shall not be your heir;
your own issue shall be your heir.”
The Lord took Abram outside and said,
“Look up at the sky and count the stars, if you can.
Just so,” he added, “shall your descendants be.”
Abram put his faith in the LORD,
who credited it to him as an act of righteousness.

The LORD took note of Sarah as he had said he would;
he did for her as he had promised.
Sarah became pregnant and bore Abraham a son in his old age,
at the set time that God had stated.
Abraham gave the name Isaac to this son of his
whom Sarah bore him.

Responsorial Psalm – PS 128:1-2, 3, 4-5.

R. (CF. 1) Blessed are those who fear the Lord and walk in his ways.
Blessed is everyone who fears the LORD,
who walks in his ways!
For you shall eat the fruit of your handiwork;
blessed shall you be, and favored.
R. Blessed are those who fear the Lord and walk in his ways.
Your wife shall be like a fruitful vine
in the recesses of your home;
your children like olive plants
around your table.
R. Blessed are those who fear the Lord and walk in his ways.
Behold, thus is the man blessed
who fears the LORD.
The LORD bless you from Zion:
may you see the prosperity of Jerusalem
all the days of your life.
R. Blessed are those who fear the Lord and walk in his ways.

Or – Ps 105:1-2, 3-4, 5-6, 8-9

R. (7A , 8A) The Lord remembers his covenant for ever.
Give thanks to the LORD, invoke his name;
make known among the nations his deeds.
Sing to him, sing his praise,
proclaim all his wondrous deeds.
R. The Lord remembers his covenant for ever.
Glory in his holy name;
rejoice, O hearts that seek the LORD!
Look to the LORD in his strength;
constantly seek his face.
R. The Lord remembers his covenant for ever.
You descendants of Abraham, his servants,
sons of Jacob, his chosen ones!
He, the LORD, is our God;
throughout the earth his judgments prevail.
R. The Lord remembers his covenant for ever.
He remembers forever his covenant
which he made binding for a thousand generations
which he entered into with Abraham
and by his oath to Isaac.
R. The Lord remembers his covenant for ever.

Reading 2 – COL 3:12-21

Brothers and sisters:
Put on, as God’s chosen ones, holy and beloved,
heartfelt compassion, kindness, humility, gentleness, and patience,
bearing with one another and forgiving one another,
if one has a grievance against another;
as the Lord has forgiven you, so must you also do.
And over all these put on love,
that is, the bond of perfection.
And let the peace of Christ control your hearts,
the peace into which you were also called in one body.
And be thankful.
Let the word of Christ dwell in you richly,
as in all wisdom you teach and admonish one another,
singing psalms, hymns, and spiritual songs
with gratitude in your hearts to God.
And whatever you do, in word or in deed,
do everything in the name of the Lord Jesus,
giving thanks to God the Father through him.

Wives, be subordinate to your husbands,
as is proper in the Lord.
Husbands, love your wives,
and avoid any bitterness toward them.
Children, obey your parents in everything,
for this is pleasing to the Lord.
Fathers, do not provoke your children,
so they may not become discouraged.


Or – Col 3:12-17

Brothers and sisters:
Put on, as God’s chosen ones, holy and beloved,
heartfelt compassion, kindness, humility, gentleness, and patience,
bearing with one another and forgiving one another,
if one has a grievance against another;
as the Lord has forgiven you, so must you also do.
And over all these put on love,
that is, the bond of perfection.
And let the peace of Christ control your hearts,
the peace into which you were also called in one body.
And be thankful.
Let the word of Christ dwell in you richly,
as in all wisdom you teach and admonish one another,
singing psalms, hymns, and spiritual songs
with gratitude in your hearts to God.
And whatever you do, in word or in deed,
do everything in the name of the Lord Jesus,
giving thanks to God the Father through him.

Or – Heb 11:8, 11-12, 17-19

Brothers and sisters:
By faith Abraham obeyed when he was called to go out to a place
that he was to receive as an inheritance;
he went out, not knowing where he was to go.
By faith he received power to generate,
even though he was past the normal age
Cand Sarah herself was sterileC
for he thought that the one who had made the promise was trustworthy.
So it was that there came forth from one man,
himself as good as dead,
descendants as numerous as the stars in the sky
and as countless as the sands on the seashore.

By faith Abraham, when put to the test, offered up Isaac,
and he who had received the promises was ready to offer
his only son,
of whom it was said,
“Through Isaac descendants shall bear your name.”
He reasoned that God was able to raise even from the dead,
and he received Isaac back as a symbol.

Alleluia – COL 3:15A, 16A

R. Alleluia, alleluia.
Let the peace of Christ control your hearts;
let the word of Christ dwell in you richly.
R. Alleluia, alleluia.

Or – Heb 1:1-2


R. Alleluia, alleluia.
In the past God spoke to our ancestors through the prophets;
in these last days, he has spoken to us through the Son.
R. Alleluia, alleluia.

Gospel – LK 2:22-40

When the days were completed for their purification
according to the law of Moses,
They took him up to Jerusalem
to present him to the Lord,
just as it is written in the law of the Lord,
Every male that opens the womb shall be consecrated to the Lord,
and to offer the sacrifice of
a pair of turtledoves or two young pigeons,
in accordance with the dictate in the law of the Lord.

Now there was a man in Jerusalem whose name was Simeon.
This man was righteous and devout,
awaiting the consolation of Israel,
and the Holy Spirit was upon him.
It had been revealed to him by the Holy Spirit
that he should not see death
before he had seen the Christ of the Lord.
He came in the Spirit into the temple;
and when the parents brought in the child Jesus
to perform the custom of the law in regard to him,
He took him into his arms and blessed God, saying:
“Now, Master, you may let your servant go
in peace, according to your word,
for my eyes have seen your salvation,
which you prepared in sight of all the peoples,
a light for revelation to the Gentiles,
and glory for your people Israel.”
The child’s father and mother were amazed at what was said about him;
and Simeon blessed them and said to Mary his mother,
“Behold, this child is destined
for the fall and rise of many in Israel,
and to be a sign that will be contradicted
—and you yourself a sword will pierce—
so that the thoughts of many hearts may be revealed.”
There was also a prophetess, Anna,
the daughter of Phanuel, of the tribe of Asher.
She was advanced in years,
having lived seven years with her husband after her marriage,
and then as a widow until she was eighty-four.
She never left the temple,
but worshiped night and day with fasting and prayer.
And coming forward at that very time,
she gave thanks to God and spoke about the child
to all who were awaiting the redemption of Jerusalem.

When they had fulfilled all the prescriptions
of the law of the Lord,
they returned to Galilee,
to their own town of Nazareth.
The child grew and became strong, filled with wisdom;
and the favor of God was upon him.

Or – Lk 2:22, 39-40

When the days were completed for their purification
according to the law of Moses,
they took him up to Jerusalem
to present him to the Lord.

When they had fulfilled all the prescriptions
of the law of the Lord,
they returned to Galilee,
to their own town of Nazareth.
The child grew and became strong, filled with wisdom;
and the favor of God was upon him.

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December 26, 2020


Sunday Vigil Mass

Feast of Saint Stephen, First Martyr
Lectionary: 696

Reading 1 – ACTS 6:8-10; 7:54-59

Stephen, filled with grace and power,
was working great wonders and signs among the people.
Certain members of the so-called Synagogue of Freedmen,
Cyrenians, and Alexandrians,
and people from Cilicia and Asia,
came forward and debated with Stephen,
but they could not withstand the wisdom and the spirit with which he spoke.

When they heard this, they were infuriated,
and they ground their teeth at him.
But he, filled with the Holy Spirit,
looked up intently to heaven
and saw the glory of God and Jesus standing at the right hand of God,
and he said,
“Behold, I see the heavens opened and the Son of Man
standing at the right hand of God.”
But they cried out in a loud voice, covered their ears,
and rushed upon him together.
They threw him out of the city, and began to stone him.
The witnesses laid down their cloaks
at the feet of a young man named Saul.  
As they were stoning Stephen, he called out
“Lord Jesus, receive my spirit.”

Responsorial Psalm – 31:3CD-4, 6 AND 8AB, 16BC AND 17

R.    (6)  Into your hands, O Lord, I commend my spirit.
Be my rock of refuge,
a stronghold to give me safety.
You are my rock and my fortress;
for your name’s sake you will lead and guide me.
R.    Into your hands, O Lord, I commend my spirit.
Into your hands I commend my spirit;
you will redeem me, O LORD, O faithful God.
I will rejoice and be glad because of your mercy.
R.    Into your hands, O Lord, I commend my spirit.
Rescue me from the clutches of my enemies and my persecutors.
Let your face shine upon your servant;
save me in your kindness.
R.    Into your hands, O Lord, I commend my spirit.

Alleluia – PS 118:26A, 27A

R. Alleluia, alleluia.
Blessed is he who comes in the name of the LORD:
the LORD is God and has given us light.
R. Alleluia, alleluia.

Gospel – MT 10:17-22

Jesus said to his disciples:
“Beware of men, for they will hand you over to courts
and scourge you in their synagogues,
and you will be led before governors and kings for my sake
as a witness before them and the pagans.
When they hand you over,
do not worry about how you are to speak
or what you are to say.
You will be given at that moment what you are to say.
For it will not be you who speak
but the Spirit of your Father speaking through you.
Brother will hand over brother to death,
and the father his child;
children will rise up against parents and have them put to death.
You will be hated by all because of my name,
but whoever endures to the end will be saved.”

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December 25, 2020


For the readings for Mass at Dawn, please go here.

For the readings for Mass During the Day, please go here.

For the readings for Mass During the Night, please go here.

The Nativity of the Lord (Christmas) – At the Vigil Mass
Lectionary: 13

Reading 1 – IS 62:1-5

For Zion’s sake I will not be silent,
for Jerusalem’s sake I will not be quiet,
until her vindication shines forth like the dawn
and her victory like a burning torch.

Nations shall behold your vindication,
and all the kings your glory;
you shall be called by a new name
pronounced by the mouth of the LORD.
You shall be a glorious crown in the hand of the LORD,
a royal diadem held by your God.
No more shall people call you “Forsaken,”
or your land “Desolate,”
but you shall be called “My Delight,”
and your land “Espoused.”
For the LORD delights in you
and makes your land his spouse.
As a young man marries a virgin,
your Builder shall marry you;
and as a bridegroom rejoices in his bride
so shall your God rejoice in you.

Responsorial Psalm – PS 89:4-5, 16-17, 27, 29.

R. (2A)  Forever I will sing the goodness of the Lord.
I have made a covenant with my chosen one,
   I have sworn to David my servant:
Forever will I confirm your posterity
   and establish your throne for all generations.
R. Forever I will sing the goodness of the Lord.
Blessed the people who know the joyful shout;
   in the light of your countenance, O LORD, they walk.
At your name they rejoice all the day,
   and through your justice they are exalted.
R. Forever I will sing the goodness of the Lord.
He shall say of me, “You are my father,
   my God, the rock, my savior.”
Forever I will maintain my kindness toward him,
   and my covenant with him stands firm.
R. Forever I will sing the goodness of the Lord.

Reading 2 – ACTS 13:16-17, 22-25

When Paul reached Antioch in Pisidia and entered the synagogue,
he stood up, motioned with his hand, and said,
“Fellow Israelites and you others who are God-fearing, listen.
The God of this people Israel chose our ancestors
and exalted the people during their sojourn in the
land of Egypt.
With uplifted arm he led them out of it.
Then he removed Saul and raised up David as king;
of him he testified,
‘I have found David, son of Jesse, a man after my own heart;
he will carry out my every wish.’
From this man’s descendants God, according to his promise,
has brought to Israel a savior, Jesus.
John heralded his coming by proclaiming a baptism of repentance
to all the people of Israel;
and as John was completing his course, he would say,
‘What do you suppose that I am?  I am not he.
Behold, one is coming after me;
I am not worthy to unfasten the sandals of his feet.’”

Alleluia

R. Alleluia, alleluia.
Tomorrow the wickedness of the earth will be destroyed:
the Savior of the world will reign over us.
R. Alleluia, alleluia.

Gospel – MT 1:1-25

The book of the genealogy of Jesus Christ,
the son of David, the son of Abraham.

Abraham became the father of Isaac,
Isaac the father of Jacob,
Jacob the father of Judah and his brothers.
Judah became the father of Perez and Zerah,
whose mother was Tamar.
Perez became the father of Hezron,
Hezron the father of Ram,
Ram the father of Amminadab.
Amminadab became the father of Nahshon,
Nahshon the father of Salmon,
Salmon the father of Boaz,
whose mother was Rahab.
Boaz became the father of Obed,
whose mother was Ruth.
Obed became the father of Jesse,
Jesse the father of David the king.

David became the father of Solomon,
whose mother had been the wife of Uriah.
Solomon became the father of Rehoboam,
Rehoboam the father of Abijah,
Abijah the father of Asaph.
Asaph became the father of Jehoshaphat,
Jehoshaphat the father of Joram,
Joram the father of Uzziah.
Uzziah became the father of Jotham,
Jotham the father of Ahaz,
Ahaz the father of Hezekiah.
Hezekiah became the father of Manasseh,
Manasseh the father of Amos,
 
Amos the father of Josiah.
Josiah became the father of Jechoniah and his brothers
at the time of the Babylonian exile.

After the Babylonian exile,
Jechoniah became the father of Shealtiel,
Shealtiel the father of Zerubbabel,
Zerubbabel the father of Abiud.
Abiud became the father of Eliakim,
Eliakim the father of Azor,
Azor the father of Zadok.
Zadok became the father of Achim,
Achim the father of Eliud,
Eliud the father of Eleazar.
Eleazar became the father of Matthan,
Matthan the father of Jacob,
Jacob the father of Joseph, the husband of Mary.
Of her was born Jesus who is called the Christ.

Thus the total number of generations
from Abraham to David
is fourteen generations;
from David to the Babylonian exile,
fourteen generations;
from the Babylonian exile to the Christ,
fourteen generations.

Now 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.
He had no relations with her until she bore a son,
and he named him Jesus.

Or – Mt 1:18-25

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.
He had no relations with her until she bore a son,
and he named him Jesus.

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December 25, 2020 – Mass at Dawn


For the readings for The Nativity of the Lord (Christmas) – At the Vigil Mass, please go here.

The Nativity of the Lord (Christmas) – Mass at Dawn
Lectionary: 15

Reading 1 – IS 62:11-12

See, the LORD proclaims
to the ends of the earth:
say to daughter Zion,
your savior comes!
Here is his reward with him,
his recompense before him.
They shall be called the holy people,
the redeemed of the LORD,
and you shall be called “Frequented,”
a city that is not forsaken.

Responsorial Psalm – PS 97:1, 6, 11-12.

R. A light will shine on us this day: the Lord is born for us.
The LORD is king; let the earth rejoice;
   let the many isles be glad.
The heavens proclaim his justice,
   and all peoples see his glory.
R. A light will shine on us this day: the Lord is born for us.
Light dawns for the just;
   and gladness, for the upright of heart.
Be glad in the LORD, you just,
   and give thanks to his holy name.
R. A light will shine on us this day: the Lord is born for us.

Reading 2 – TI 3:4-7

Beloved:
When the kindness and generous love
of God our savior appeared,
not because of any righteous deeds we had done
but because of his mercy,
He saved us through the bath of rebirth
and renewal by the Holy Spirit,
whom he richly poured out on us
through Jesus Christ our savior,
so that we might be justified by his grace
and become heirs in hope of eternal life.

Alleluia – LK 2:14

R. Alleluia, alleluia.
Glory to God in the highest,
and on earth peace to those
on whom his favor rests.
R. Alleluia, alleluia.

Gospel – LK 2:15-20

When the angels went away from them to heaven,
the shepherds said to one another,
“Let us go, then, to Bethlehem
to see this thing that has taken place,
which the Lord has made known to us.”
So they went in haste 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.

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December 25, 2020 – Mass During the Day


For the readings for The Nativity of the Lord (Christmas) – At the Vigil Mass, please go here.

The Nativity of the Lord (Christmas) – Mass During the Day
Lectionary: 16

Reading 1 – IS 52:7-10

How beautiful upon the mountains
are the feet of him who brings glad tidings,
announcing peace, bearing good news,
announcing salvation, and saying to Zion,
“Your God is King!”

Hark!  Your sentinels raise a cry,
together they shout for joy,
for they see directly, before their eyes,
the LORD restoring Zion.
Break out together in song,
O ruins of Jerusalem!
For the LORD comforts his people,
he redeems Jerusalem.
The LORD has bared his holy arm
in the sight of all the nations;
all the ends of the earth will behold
the salvation of our God.

Responsorial Psalm – PS 98:1, 2-3, 3-4, 5-6.

R.  (3C)  All the ends of the earth have seen the saving power of God.
Sing to the LORD a new song,
   for he has done wondrous deeds;
his right hand has won victory for him,
   his holy arm.
R. All the ends of the earth have seen the saving power of God.
The LORD has made his salvation known:
   in the sight of the nations he has revealed his justice.
He has remembered his kindness and his faithfulness
   toward the house of Israel.
R. All the ends of the earth have seen the saving power of God.
All the ends of the earth have seen
   the salvation by our God.
Sing joyfully to the LORD, all you lands;
   break into song; sing praise.
R. All the ends of the earth have seen the saving power of God.
Sing praise to the LORD with the harp,
   with the harp and melodious song.
With trumpets and the sound of the horn
   sing joyfully before the King, the LORD.
R. All the ends of the earth have seen the saving power of God.

Reading 2 – HEB 1:1-6

Brothers and sisters:
In times past, God spoke in partial and various ways
to our ancestors through the prophets;
in these last days, he has spoken to us through the Son,
whom he made heir of all things
and through whom he created the universe,
who is the refulgence of his glory,
the very imprint of his being,
and who sustains all things by his mighty word.
When he had accomplished purification from sins,
he took his seat at the right hand of the Majesty on high,
as far superior to the angels
as the name he has inherited is more excellent than theirs.

For to which of the angels did God ever say:
You are my son; this day I have begotten you?
Or again:
I will be a father to him, and he shall be a son to me?
And again, when he leads the firstborn into the world, he says:
Let all the angels of God worship him.

Alleluia

R. Alleluia, alleluia.
A holy day has dawned upon us.
Come, you nations, and adore the Lord.
For today a great light has come upon the earth.
R. Alleluia, alleluia.

Gospel – JN 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.

Or – Jn 1:1-5, 9-14

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.
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.

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December 25, 2020 – Mass During the Night


For the readings for The Nativity of the Lord (Christmas) – At the Vigil Mass, please go here.

The Nativity of the Lord (Christmas) – Mass During the Night
Lectionary: 14

Reading 1 – IS 9:1-6

The people who walked in darkness
have seen a great light;
upon those who dwelt in the land of gloom
a light has shone.
You have brought them abundant joy
and great rejoicing,
as they rejoice before you as at the harvest,
as people make merry when dividing spoils.
For the yoke that burdened them,
the pole on their shoulder,
and the rod of their taskmaster
you have smashed, as on the day of Midian.
For every boot that tramped in battle,
every cloak rolled in blood,
will be burned as fuel for flames.
For a child is born to us, a son is given us;
upon his shoulder dominion rests.
They name him Wonder-Counselor, God-Hero,
Father-Forever, Prince of Peace.
His dominion is vast
and forever peaceful,
from David’s throne, and over his kingdom,
which he confirms and sustains
by judgment and justice,
both now and forever.
The zeal of the LORD of hosts will do this!

Responsorial Psalm – PS 96: 1-2, 2-3, 11-12, 13.

R. (Lk 2:11)  Today is born our Savior, Christ the Lord.
Sing to the LORD a new song;
   sing to the LORD, all you lands.
Sing to the LORD; bless his name.
R. Today is born our Savior, Christ the Lord.
Announce his salvation, day after day.
    Tell his glory among the nations;
    among all peoples, his wondrous deeds.
R. Today is born our Savior, Christ the Lord.
Let the heavens be glad and the earth rejoice;
   let the sea and what fills it resound;
   let the plains be joyful and all that is in them!
Then shall all the trees of the forest exult.
R. Today is born our Savior, Christ the Lord.
They shall exult before the LORD, for he comes;
   for he comes to rule the earth.
He shall rule the world with justice
   and the peoples with his constancy.
R. Today is born our Savior, Christ the Lord.

Reading 2 – TI 2:11-14

Beloved:
The grace of God has appeared, saving all
and training us to reject godless ways and worldly desires
and to live temperately, justly, and devoutly in this age,
as we await the blessed hope,
the appearance of the glory of our great God
and savior Jesus Christ,
who gave himself for us to deliver us from all lawlessness
and to cleanse for himself a people as his own,
eager to do what is good.

Alleluia – LK 2:10-11

R. Alleluia, alleluia.
I proclaim to you good news of great joy:
today a Savior is born for us,
Christ the Lord.
R. Alleluia, alleluia.

Gospel – LK 2:1-14

In those days a decree went out from Caesar Augustus
that the whole world should be enrolled.
This was the first enrollment,
when Quirinius was governor of Syria.
So all went to be enrolled, each to his own town.
And Joseph too went up from Galilee from the town of Nazareth
to Judea, to the city of David that is called Bethlehem,
because he was of the house and family of David,
to be enrolled with Mary, his betrothed, who was with child.
While they were there,
the time came for her to have her child,
and she gave birth to her firstborn son.
She wrapped him in swaddling clothes and laid him in a manger,
because there was no room for them in the inn.

Now there were shepherds in that region living in the fields
and keeping the night watch over their flock.
The angel of the Lord appeared to them
and the glory of the Lord shone around them,
and they were struck with great fear.
The angel said to them,
“Do not be afraid;
for behold, I proclaim to you good news of great joy
that will be for all the people.
For today in the city of David
a savior has been born for you who is Christ and Lord.
And this will be a sign for you:
you will find an infant wrapped in swaddling clothes
and lying in a manger.”
And suddenly there was a multitude of the heavenly host with the angel,
praising God and saying:
“Glory to God in the highest
and on earth peace to those on whom his favor rests.”

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December 24, 2020


Thursday in the Fourth Week of Advent – Mass in the Morning
Lectionary: 200

Reading 1 – 2 SM 7:1-5, 8B-12, 14A, 16

When King David was settled in his palace,
and the LORD had given him rest from his enemies on every side,
he said to Nathan the prophet,
“Here I am living in a house of cedar,
while the ark of God dwells in a tent!”
Nathan answered the king,
“Go, do whatever you have in mind,
for the LORD is with you.”
But that night the LORD spoke to Nathan and said:
“Go, tell my servant David, ‘Thus says the LORD:
Should you build me a house to dwell in?

“‘It was I who took you from the pasture
and from the care of the flock
to be commander of my people Israel.
I have been with you wherever you went,
and I have destroyed all your enemies before you.
And I will make you famous like the great ones of the earth.
I will fix a place for my people Israel;
I will plant them so that they may dwell in their place
without further disturbance.
Neither shall the wicked continue to afflict them as they did of old,
since the time I first appointed judges over my people Israel.
I will give you rest from all your enemies.
The LORD also reveals to you
that he will establish a house for you.
And when your time comes and you rest with your ancestors,
I will raise up your heir after you, sprung from your loins,
and I will make his Kingdom firm.
I will be a father to him,
and he shall be a son to me.
Your house and your Kingdom shall endure forever before me;
your throne shall stand firm forever.’”

Responsorial Psalm – 89:2-3, 4-5, 27 AND 29

R.    (2)  Forever I will sing the goodness of the Lord.
The favors of the LORD I will sing forever;
through all generations my mouth shall proclaim your faithfulness.
For you have said, “My kindness is established forever”;
in heaven you have confirmed your faithfulness.
R.    Forever I will sing the goodness of the Lord.
“I have made a covenant with my chosen one,
I have sworn to David my servant:
Forever will I confirm your posterity
and establish your throne for all generations.”
R.    Forever I will sing the goodness of the Lord.
“He shall say of me, ‘You are my father,
my God, the rock, my savior.’
Forever I will maintain my kindness toward him,
and my covenant with him stands firm.”
R.    Forever I will sing the goodness of the Lord.

Alleluia

R. Alleluia, alleluia.
O Radiant Dawn,
splendor of eternal light, sun of justice:
come and shine on those who dwell in darkness and in the shadow of death.
R. Alleluia, alleluia.

Gospel – LK 1:67-79

Zechariah his father, filled with the Holy Spirit, prophesied, saying:

“Blessed be the Lord, the God of Israel;
for he has come to his people and set them free.
He has raised up for us a mighty Savior,
born of the house of his servant David.
Through his prophets he promised of old
that he would save us from our enemies,
from the hands of all who hate us.
He promised to show mercy to our fathers
and to remember his holy covenant.
This was the oath he swore to our father Abraham:
to set us free from the hand of our enemies,
free to worship him without fear,
holy and righteous in his sight
all the days of our life.
You, my child, shall be called the prophet of the Most High,
for you will go before the Lord to prepare his way,
to give his people knowledge of salvation
by the forgiveness of their sins.
In the tender compassion of our God
the dawn from on high shall break upon us,
to shine on those who dwell in darkness and the shadow of death,
and to guide our feet into the way of peace.”

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December 23, 2020


For the readings of the Optional Memorial of Saint John of Kanty, please go here.

Wednesday of the Fourth Week of Advent
Lectionary: 199

Reading 1 – MAL 3:1-4, 23-24

Thus says the Lord GOD:
Lo, I am sending my messenger
to prepare the way before me;
And suddenly there will come to the temple
the LORD whom you seek,
And the messenger of the covenant whom you desire.
Yes, he is coming, says the LORD of hosts.
But who will endure the day of his coming?
And who can stand when he appears?
For he is like the refiner’s fire,
or like the fuller’s lye.
He will sit refining and purifying silver,
and he will purify the sons of Levi,
Refining them like gold or like silver
that they may offer due sacrifice to the LORD.
Then the sacrifice of Judah and Jerusalem
will please the LORD,
as in the days of old, as in years gone by.

Lo, I will send you
Elijah, the prophet,
Before the day of the LORD comes,
the great and terrible day,
To turn the hearts of the fathers to their children,
and the hearts of the children to their fathers,
Lest I come and strike
the land with doom.

Responsorial Psalm – 25:4-5AB, 8-9, 10 AND 14

R.    (see Luke 21:28)  Lift up your heads and see; your redemption is near at hand.
Your ways, O LORD, make known to me;
teach me your paths,
Guide me in your truth and teach me,
for you are God my savior.
R.    Lift up your heads and see; your redemption is near at hand.
Good and upright is the LORD;
thus he shows sinners the way.
He guides the humble to justice,
he teaches the humble his way.
R.    Lift up your heads and see; your redemption is near at hand.
All the paths of the LORD are kindness and constancy
toward those who keep his covenant and his decrees.
The friendship of the LORD is with those who fear him,
and his covenant, for their instruction.
R.    Lift up your heads and see; your redemption is near at hand.

Alleluia

R. Alleluia, alleluia.
O King of all nations and keystone of the Church;
come and save man, whom you formed from the dust!
R. Alleluia, alleluia.

Gospel – LK 1:57-66

When the time arrived for Elizabeth to have her child
she gave birth to a son.
Her neighbors and relatives heard
that the Lord had shown his great mercy toward her,
and they rejoiced with her.
When they came on the eighth day to circumcise the child,
they were going to call him Zechariah after his father,
but his mother said in reply,
“No. He will be called John.”
But they answered her,
“There is no one among your relatives who has this name.”
So they made signs, asking his father what he wished him to be called.
He asked for a tablet and wrote, “John is his name,”
and all were amazed.
Immediately his mouth was opened, his tongue freed,
and he spoke blessing God.
Then fear came upon all their neighbors,
     and all these matters were discussed
throughout the hill country of Judea.
All who heard these things took them to heart, saying,
“What, then, will this child be?
For surely the hand of the Lord was with him.”

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December 23, 2020 – Memorial of Saint John of Kanty, priest


For the readings on Wednesday of the Fourth Week of Advent, please go here.

Optional Memorial of Saint John of Kanty, priest
Lectionary: 695

Reading 1 – JAS 2:14-17

What good is it, my brothers and sisters,
if someone says he has faith but does not have works?
Can that faith save him?
If a brother or sister has nothing to wear
and has no food for the day,
and one of you says to them,
“Go in peace, keep warm, and eat well,”
but you do not give them the necessities of the body,
what good is it?
So also faith of itself,
if it does not have works, is dead.

Responsorial Psalm – PS 112:1BC-2, 3-4, 5-7, 6-8, 9

R.    (1) Blessed the man who fears the Lord.
or:
R.    Alleluia.
Blessed the man who fears the LORD,
who greatly delights in his commands.
His posterity shall be might upon the earth;
the upright generation shall be blessed.
R.    Blessed the man who fears the Lord.
or:
R.    Alleluia.
Wealth and riches shall be in his house;
his generosity shall endure forever.
Light shines through the darkness  for the upright;
he is gracious and merciful and just.
R.    Blessed the man who fears the Lord.
or:
R.    Alleluia.
Well for the man who is gracious and lends,
who conducts his affairs with justice;
He shall never be moved;
the just one shall be in everlasting remembrance.
R.    Blessed the man who fears the Lord.
or:
R.    Alleluia.
An evil report he shall not fear;
his heart is firm, trusting in the LORD.
His heart is steadfast; he shall not fear
till he looks down upon his foes.
R.    Blessed the man who fears the Lord.
or:
R.    Alleluia.
Lavishly he gives to the poor,
his generosity shall endure forever;
his horn shall be exalted in glory.
R.    Blessed the man who fears the Lord.
or:
R.    Alleluia.

Reading 2 – JN 13:34

R.    Alleluia, alleluia.
I give you a new commandment:
love one another as I have loved you.
R.    Alleluia, alleluia.

Gospel – LK 6:27-38

Jesus said to his disciples:
“To you who hear I say,
love your enemies, do good to those who hate you,
bless those who curse you, pray for those who mistreat you.
To the person who strikes you on one cheek,
offer the other one as well,
and from the person who takes your cloak,
do not withhold even your tunic.
Give to everyone who asks of you,
and from the one who takes what is yours do not demand it back.
Do to others as you would have them do to you.
For if you love those who love you,
what credit is that to you?
Even sinners love those who love them.
And if you do good to those who do good to you,
what credit is that to you?
Even sinners do the same.
If you lend money to those from whom you expect repayment,
what credit is that to you?
Even sinners lend to sinners,
and get back the same amount.
But rather, love your enemies and do good to them,
and lend expecting nothing back;
then your reward will be great
and you will be children of the Most High,
for he himself is kind to the ungrateful and the wicked.
Be merciful, just as your Father is merciful.

“Stop judging and you will not be judged.
Stop condemning and you will not be condemned.
Forgive and you will be forgiven.
Give and gifts will be given to you;
a good measure, packed together, shaken down, and overflowing,
will be poured into your lap.
For the measure with which you measure
will in return be measured out to you.”

 Saint John of Kanty (Cantius), Priest
1390–1473

Humility, austerity, work, and intelligence unite in one man

Conquering generals returning home from the rim of the Empire were awarded triumphal parades through Rome’s crowded masses. The booty of war entered the city first on carts—gold plate, silver goblets, piles of aromatic spices—then came the exotic animals, the caged prisoners of war, and row after row of legionaries. Finally, the victorious general split the crowd in a chariot pulled by two white horses. Slaves waving huge plumes fanned the emperor while another slave stood behind him, continually whispering in his ear: “Thus passes the glory of the world” or “Remember you are a mere mortal.” Tertullian, a North African Christian, specifically cites this triumphal custom: “…amid the honours of a triumph, (the emperor) sits on that lofty chariot, and he is reminded that he is only human. A voice at his back keeps whispering in his ear, ‘Look behind thee; remember thou art but a man’” (Apologies Chpt. 33).

Today’s saint needed no such professional whisperers. Nature spoke loudly into one ear and Christ into the other, reminding him of life’s fleeting nature, that the “here and now” must one day cede to the “there and then.” John of Kanty (or John Cantius) was impressively unimpressed with all that the world had to offer. Saint John’s prodigious intellectual gifts could have garnished his life with a fair share of the world’s riches, if he had desired them. But the only glory Saint John sought was knowledge of God, the hard floor he slept on every night, and the hunger that seasoned what little food he ate. Saint John was a gifted student at Poland’s University of Krakow, who after priestly ordination became a professor of philosophy, theology, and Scripture there. Apart from a few year’s interlude serving in a parish, he spent all of his adult life as a professor.  

John gave to the poor until he deprived himself of life’s necessities. When he walked on pilgrimage to Rome, he carried his meager sack on his own back. His cassock was threadbare, he did not eat meat, and his personal sweetness and patience made his impressive theological knowledge even more impactful. He dismissed the concerns of friends that his punishing austerities would damage his health by invoking the example of Egypt’s long-lived desert fathers, whose gaunt frames were draped in skin as cracked and dry as the desert itself. John’s virtuous life proves the mutually reinforcing character of poverty and celibacy. Once a priest abandons his vow of poverty or simplicity and begins leading a bourgeoisie life of comfort, he risks abandoning his vow of celibacy too. He starts to imperceptibly drift downriver from where he first entered the stream of his vocation, until it’s too late, and he is swept over the falls into the sea of mere bachelorhood.

From an external perspective, Saint John lived a mundane, predictable existence. It is in keeping with his personal history that he is one of the most obscure saints on the Church’s liturgical calendar. His life was like a flat plain, without great events jutting up like mountains from the even, everyday terrain. Saint John was a humble scholar who sought no legacy through wealth, fame, property, marriage, or offspring. Such goods were arrows that glanced off his spiritual armor. He did not want to cheat death by colluding with the desires of his fallen nature. His mind, his body, and his life would serve no one and nothing except Christ and His Church. Such a serious, mortified life is not for the many, but a few are indeed called to live it. After his death, John’s holiness and academic excellence were so highly esteemed that his doctoral gown was long placed on the shoulders of the University of Krakow’s doctoral graduates to ceremoniously vest them. On a pilgrimage to Krakow in 1997, Saint John’s countryman Pope Saint John Paul II prayed at his tomb, noting that his fellow Krakovian’s life exemplified what emerges when “knowledge and wisdom seek a covenant with holiness.”

Saint John of Kanty, we ask your heavenly intercession to infuse the virtues of poverty, chastity, and perseverance in all students of higher education, that they may be diligent in furthering their knowledge of all things sacred and mundane for God’s glory and their own sanctification.

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December 22, 2020


Tuesday of the Fourth Week of Advent
Lectionary: 198

Reading 1 – 1 SM 1:24-28

In those days,
Hannah brought Samuel with her,
along with a three-year-old bull,
an ephah of flour, and a skin of wine,
and presented him at the temple of the LORD in Shiloh.
After the boy’s father had sacrificed the young bull,
Hannah, his mother, approached Eli and said:
“Pardon, my lord!
As you live, my lord,
I am the woman who stood near you here, praying to the LORD.
I prayed for this child, and the LORD granted my request.
Now I, in turn, give him to the LORD;
as long as he lives, he shall be dedicated to the LORD.”
She left Samuel there.

Responsorial Psalm – 1 SAMUEL 2:1, 4-5, 6-7, 8ABCD

R. (see 1A) My heart exults in the Lord, my Savior.
“My heart exults in the LORD,
my horn is exalted in my God.
I have swallowed up my enemies;
I rejoice in my victory.”
R. My heart exults in the Lord, my Savior.
“The bows of the mighty are broken,
while the tottering gird on strength.
The well-fed hire themselves out for bread,
while the hungry batten on spoil.
The barren wife bears seven sons,
while the mother of many languishes.”
R. My heart exults in the Lord, my Savior.
“The LORD puts to death and gives life;
he casts down to the nether world;
he raises up again.
The LORD makes poor and makes rich,
he humbles, he also exalts.”
R. My heart exults in the Lord, my Savior.
“He raises the needy from the dust;
from the dung heap he lifts up the poor,
To seat them with nobles
and make a glorious throne their heritage.”
R. My heart exults in the Lord, my Savior.

Alleluia

R. Alleluia, alleluia.
O King of all nations and keystone of the Church:
come and save man, whom you formed from the dust!
R. Alleluia, alleluia.

Gospel – LK 1:46-56

Mary said:

“My soul proclaims the greatness of the Lord;
my spirit rejoices in God my savior.
for he has looked upon his lowly servant.
From this day all generations will call me blessed:
the Almighty has done great things for me,
and holy is his Name.
He has mercy on those who fear him
in every generation.
He has shown the strength of his arm,
and has scattered the proud in their conceit.
He has cast down the mighty from their thrones
and has lifted up the lowly.
He has filled the hungry with good things,
and the rich he has sent away empty.
He has come to the help of his servant Israel
for he remembered his promise of mercy,
the promise he made to our fathers,
to Abraham and his children forever.”

Mary remained with Elizabeth about three months
and then returned to her home.

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December 21, 2020


For the readings of the Optional Memorial of Saint Peter Canisius, please go here.

Monday of the Fourth Week of Advent
Lectionary: 197

Reading 1 – SG 2:8-14

Hark! my lover–here he comes
springing across the mountains,
leaping across the hills.
My lover is like a gazelle
or a young stag.
Here he stands behind our wall,
gazing through the windows,
peering through the lattices.
My lover speaks; he says to me,
“Arise, my beloved, my dove, my beautiful one,
and come!
“For see, the winter is past,
the rains are over and gone.
The flowers appear on the earth,
the time of pruning the vines has come,
and the song of the dove is heard in our land.
The fig tree puts forth its figs,
and the vines, in bloom, give forth fragrance.
Arise, my beloved, my beautiful one,
and come!

“O my dove in the clefts of the rock,
in the secret recesses of the cliff,
Let me see you,
let me hear your voice,
For your voice is sweet,
and you are lovely.”

Or Zep 3:14-18a

Shout for joy, O daughter Zion!
Sing joyfully, O Israel!
Be glad and exult with all your heart,
O daughter Jerusalem!
The LORD has removed the judgment against you,
he has turned away your enemies;
The King of Israel, the LORD, is in your midst,
you have no further misfortune to fear.
On that day, it shall be said to Jerusalem:
Fear not, O Zion, be not discouraged!
The LORD, your God, is in your midst,
a mighty savior;
He will rejoice over you with gladness,
and renew you in his love,
He will sing joyfully because of you,
as one sings at festivals.

Responsorial Psalm – 33:2-3, 11-12, 20-21

R.    (1A; 3A)  Exult, you just, in the Lord! Sing to him a new song.
Give thanks to the LORD on the harp;
with the ten-stringed lyre chant his praises.
Sing to him a new song;
pluck the strings skillfully, with shouts of gladness.
R.    Exult, you just, in the Lord! Sing to him a new song.
But the plan of the LORD stands forever;
the design of his heart, through all generations.
Blessed the nation whose God is the LORD,
the people he has chosen for his own inheritance.
R.    Exult, you just, in the Lord! Sing to him a new song.
Our soul waits for the LORD,
who is our help and our shield,
For in him our hearts rejoice;
in his holy name we trust.
R.    Exult, you just, in the Lord! Sing to him a new song.

Alleluia

R. Alleluia, alleluia.
O Emmanuel, our King and Giver of Law:
come to save us, Lord our God!
R. Alleluia, alleluia.

Gospel – LK 1:39-45

Mary set out in those days
and traveled to the hill country in haste
to a town of Judah,
where she entered the house of Zechariah
and greeted Elizabeth.
When Elizabeth heard Mary’s greeting,
the infant leaped in her womb,
and Elizabeth, filled with the Holy Spirit,
cried out in a loud voice and said,
“Most blessed are you among women,
and blessed is the fruit of your womb.
And how does this happen to me,
that the mother of my Lord should come to me?
For at the moment the sound of your greeting reached my ears,
the infant in my womb leaped for joy.
Blessed are you who believed
that what was spoken to you by the Lord
would be fulfilled.”

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December 21, 2020 – Memorial of Saint Peter Canisius, priest and doctor of the Church


For the readings on Monday of the Fourth Week of Advent, please go here.

Optional Memorial of Saint Peter Canisius, priest and doctor of the Church
Lectionary: 694

Reading 1 – 2 TM 4:1-5

Beloved:
I charge you in the presence of God and of Christ Jesus,
who will judge the living and the dead,
and by his appearing and his kingly power:
proclaim the word;
be persistent whether it is convenient or inconvenient;
convince, reprimand, encourage through all patience and teaching.
For the time will come when people will not tolerate sound doctrine but,
following their own desires and insatiable curiosity,
will accumulate teachers and will stop listening to the truth
and will be diverted to myths.
But you, be self-possessed in all circumstances;
put up with hardship;
perform the work of an evangelist;
fulfill your ministry.

Responsorial Psalm – PS 40:2 AND 4, 7-8A, 8B-9, 10, 11

R.    (8A and 9A)  Here I am, Lord; I come to do your will.
I have waited, waited for the LORD,
and he stooped toward me and heard my cry.
And he put a new song into my mouth,
a hymn to our God.
R.    Here I am, Lord; I come to do your will.
Sacrifice or oblation you wished not,
but ears open to obedience you gave me.
Burnt offerings or sin-offerings you sought not;
then said I, “Behold I come.”
R.    Here I am, Lord; I come to do your will.
“In the written scroll it is prescribed for me,
To do your will, O my God, is my delight,
and your law is within my heart!”
R.    Here I am, Lord; I come to do your will.
I announced your justice in the vast assembly;
I did not restrain my lips, as you, O LORD, know.
R.    Here I am, Lord; I come to do your will.
Your justice I kept not hid within my heart;
your faithfulness and your salvation I have spoken of;
I have made no secret of your kindness and your truth
in the vast assembly.
R.    Here I am, Lord; I come to do your will.

Alleluia – MT 5:16

R.    Alleluia, alleluia.
Let your light shine before others,
that they may see your good deeds and glorify your heavenly Father.
R.    Alleluia, alleluia.

Gospel – MT 5:13-19

Jesus said to his disciples:
“You are the salt of the earth.
But if salt loses its taste, with what can it be seasoned?
It is no longer good for anything
but to be thrown out and trampled underfoot.
You are the light of the world.
A city set on a mountain cannot be hidden.
Nor do they light a lamp and then put it under a bushel basket;
it is set on a lampstand,
where it gives light to all in the house.
Just so, your light must shine before others,
that they may see your good deeds
and glorify your heavenly Father.

“Do not think that I have come to abolish the law or the prophets.
I have come not to abolish but to fulfill.
Amen, I say to you, until heaven and earth pass away,
not the smallest letter or the smallest part of a letter
will pass from the law,
until all things have taken place.
Therefore, whoever breaks one of the least of these commandments
and teaches others to do so
will be called least in the Kingdom of heaven.
But whoever obeys and teaches these commandments
will be called greatest in the Kingdom of heaven.”

Saint Peter Canisius, Priest and Doctor
1521–1597

A zealous Jesuit is the tip of the Counter-Reformation spear in Central Europe

The deep impact of today’s saint so shook Germany that the reverberations of his work were still being felt centuries after his death. Saint Peter Canisius composed question and answer German-language catechisms for every educational level. These catechisms were clear, scriptural, and of the purest doctrine. Hundreds of editions were printed during his own lifetime and for centuries afterwards. Pope Benedict XVI, a German, said that in his father’s generation in the last half of the nineteenth century, a catechism in Germany was still known simply as “the Canisius.” This was three hundred years after Peter Canisius had died! If Saint Boniface was the Apostle of Germany in the eighth century, then Saint Peter Canisius was the Catechist of Germany in the sixteenth.

Peter Canisius was born in the Netherlands and attended the University of Cologne. During his studies, he prayed at a Carthusian monastery and came to know one of the very first Jesuits. After a period of discernment, he joined the Society of Jesus. He was ordained a priest in 1546 and just one year later participated in a session of the Council of Trent in the employ of a German bishop. Soon after this experience at the highest level of Church life, Peter was sent by Saint Ignatius of Loyola to teach at a minor Jesuit college, a test of Peter’s obedience. This ministry was short-lived, as Peter’s erudition and skills were destined to have a wider scope.

Peter was a working, teaching, preaching scholar who did all things well. He edited the works of Saint Cyril of Alexandria, Pope Saint Leo the Great, and Saint Jerome. He wrote over eight thousand pages of letters to people of every rank of society. His refinements of his popular catechisms never ceased, and he worked for years with other scholars to compose a work on Church history to counter a popular Protestant history book which twisted the truth of Catholicism’s role in European history. Peter’s life was spent crisscrossing Central Europe in an era fraught with religious tension. The concussive force of the Protestant Reformation stunned the cerebellum of Central Europe for decades. Shock, confusion, and violence spread outward from Germany in wave after confusing wave. Peter and many others slowly helped Germany, Switzerland, Austria, and Bohemia to recover their mental health and to remain true to their historic Catholic identity.

Peter was in Vienna, where the people and princes wanted him to stay and be their bishop. But Saint Ignatius, his superior, said no, Peter’s skills were needed elsewhere. Then Peter was in Prague, starting Jesuit colleges, preaching to empty churches and, in the end, winning the day. Then Peter was in Bavaria, then Switzerland, and then Poland. His zeal, learning, and holiness were self-evident. He held blameless the majority of Protestants, who were such out of ignorance or apathy. He reserved his rare invective only for the heresiarchs themselves, and for other intellectuals who should have known better. He distinguished between those who were willful apostates and those who were the victims of circumstances. Peter Canisius was a perpetual storm who rained down knowledge, apologetics, books, sermons, and letters over all of Central Europe. He brought calm and moderation to a violent, fevered time. One biographer estimates Peter traveled twenty thousand miles on foot and horseback over a period of thirty years to further his apostolic labors. Peter Canisius was canonized and declared a Doctor of the Church on the same day in 1925.

Saint Peter, God raised you up at the right time to save the faith in Central Europe. Your even temper, broad knowledge, life of prayer, and personal virtue brought lost sheep back into the fold. From heaven, help all priests, deacons, and teachers to do the same.

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December 20, 2020


Fourth Sunday of Advent
Lectionary: 11

Reading 1 – 2 SM 7:1-5, 8B-12, 14A, 16

When King David was settled in his palace,
and the LORD had given him rest from his enemies on every side,
he said to Nathan the prophet,
“Here I am living in a house of cedar,
while the ark of God dwells in a tent!”
Nathan answered the king,
“Go, do whatever you have in mind,
for the LORD is with you.”
But that night the LORD spoke to Nathan and said:
“Go, tell my servant David, ‘Thus says the LORD:
Should you build me a house to dwell in?’

“It was I who took you from the pasture
and from the care of the flock
to be commander of my people Israel.
I have been with you wherever you went,
and I have destroyed all your enemies before you.
And I will make you famous like the great ones of the earth.
I will fix a place for my people Israel;
I will plant them so that they may dwell in their place
without further disturbance.
Neither shall the wicked continue to afflict them as they did of old,
since the time I first appointed judges over my people Israel.
I will give you rest from all your enemies.
The LORD also reveals to you
that he will establish a house for you.
And when your time comes and you rest with your ancestors,
I will raise up your heir after you, sprung from your loins,
and I will make his kingdom firm.
I will be a father to him,
and he shall be a son to me.
Your house and your kingdom shall endure forever before me;
your throne shall stand firm forever.”

Responsorial Psalm – PS 89:2-3, 4-5, 27, 29

R. (2A) Forever I will sing the goodness of the Lord.
The promises of the LORD I will sing forever;
through all generations my mouth shall proclaim your faithfulness.
For you have said, “My kindness is established forever”;
in heaven you have confirmed your faithfulness.
R. Forever I will sing the goodness of the Lord.
“I have made a covenant with my chosen one,
I have sworn to David my servant:
Forever will I confirm your posterity
and establish your throne for all generations.”
R. Forever I will sing the goodness of the Lord.
“He shall say of me, ‘You are my father,
my God, the Rock, my savior.’
Forever I will maintain my kindness toward him,
and my covenant with him stands firm.”
R. Forever I will sing the goodness of the Lord.

Reading 2 – ROM 16:25-27

Brothers and sisters:
To him who can strengthen you,
according to my gospel and the proclamation of Jesus Christ,
according to the revelation of the mystery kept secret for long ages
but now manifested through the prophetic writings and,
according to the command of the eternal God,
made known to all nations to bring about the obedience of faith,
to the only wise God, through Jesus Christ
be glory forever and ever. Amen.

Alleluia – LK 1:38

R. Alleluia, alleluia.
Behold, I am the handmaid of the Lord.
May it be done to me according to your word.
R. Alleluia, alleluia.

Gospel – LK 1:26-38

The angel Gabriel was sent from God
to a town of Galilee called Nazareth,
to a virgin betrothed to a man named Joseph,
of the house of David,
and the virgin’s name was Mary.
And coming to her, he said,
“Hail, full of grace! The Lord is with you.”
But she was greatly troubled at what was said
and pondered what sort of greeting this might be.
Then the angel said to her,
“Do not be afraid, Mary,
for you have found favor with God.

“Behold, you will conceive in your womb and bear a son,
and you shall name him Jesus.
He will be great and will be called Son of the Most High,
and the Lord God will give him the throne of David his father,
and he will rule over the house of Jacob forever,
and of his kingdom there will be no end.”
But Mary said to the angel,
“How can this be,
since I have no relations with a man?”
And the angel said to her in reply,
“The Holy Spirit will come upon you,
and the power of the Most High will overshadow you.
Therefore the child to be born
will be called holy, the Son of God.
And behold, Elizabeth, your relative,
has also conceived a son in her old age,
and this is the sixth month for her who was called barren;
for nothing will be impossible for God.”
Mary said, “Behold, I am the handmaid of the Lord.
May it be done to me according to your word.”
Then the angel departed from her.

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December 19, 2020


Sunday Vigil Mass

Saturday of the Third Week of Advent
Lectionary: 195

Reading 1 – JGS 13:2-7, 24-25A

There was a certain man from Zorah, of the clan of the Danites,
whose name was Manoah.
His wife was barren and had borne no children.
An angel of the LORD appeared to the woman and said to her,
“Though you are barren and have had no children,
yet you will conceive and bear a son.
Now, then, be careful to take no wine or strong drink
and to eat nothing unclean.
As for the son you will conceive and bear,
no razor shall touch his head,
for this boy is to be consecrated to God from the womb.
It is he who will begin the deliverance of Israel
from the power of the Philistines.”

The woman went and told her husband,
“A man of God came to me;
he had the appearance of an angel of God, terrible indeed.
I did not ask him where he came from, nor did he tell me his name.
But he said to me,
‘You will be with child and will bear a son.
So take neither wine nor strong drink, and eat nothing unclean.
For the boy shall be consecrated to God from the womb,
until the day of his death.’”

The woman bore a son and named him Samson.
The boy grew up and the LORD blessed him;
the Spirit of the LORD stirred him.

Responsorial Psalm – 71:3-4A, 5-6AB, 16-17

R.    (see 8)  My mouth shall be filled with your praise, and I will sing your glory!
Be my rock of refuge,
a stronghold to give me safety,
for you are my rock and my fortress.
O my God, rescue me from the hand of the wicked.
R.    My mouth shall be filled with your praise, and I will sing your glory!
For you are my hope, O LORD;
my trust, O God, from my youth.
On you I depend from birth;
from my mother’s womb you are my strength.
R.    My mouth shall be filled with your praise, and I will sing your glory!
I will treat of the mighty works of the LORD;
O God, I will tell of your singular justice.
O God, you have taught me from my youth,
and till the present I proclaim your wondrous deeds.
R.    My mouth shall be filled with your praise, and I will sing your glory!

Alleluia

R. Alleluia, alleluia.
O Root of Jesse’s stem,
sign of God’s love for all his people;
come to save us without delay!
R. Alleluia, alleluia.

Gospel – LK 1:5-25

In the days of Herod, King of Judea,
there was a priest named Zechariah
of the priestly division of Abijah;
his wife was from the daughters of Aaron,
and her name was Elizabeth.
Both were righteous in the eyes of God,
observing all the commandments
and ordinances of the Lord blamelessly.
But they had no child, because Elizabeth was barren
and both were advanced in years.

Once when he was serving as priest
in his division’s turn before God,
according to the practice of the priestly service,
he was chosen by lot
to enter the sanctuary of the Lord to burn incense.
Then, when the whole assembly of the people was praying outside
at the hour of the incense offering,
the angel of the Lord appeared to him,
standing at the right of the altar of incense.
Zechariah was troubled by what he saw, and fear came upon him.

But the angel said to him, “Do not be afraid, Zechariah,
because your prayer has been heard.
Your wife Elizabeth will bear you a son,
and you shall name him John.
And you will have joy and gladness,
and many will rejoice at his birth,
for he will be great in the sight of the Lord.
He will drink neither wine nor strong drink.
He will be filled with the Holy Spirit even from his mother’s womb,
and he will turn many of the children of Israel
to the Lord their God.
He will go before him in the spirit and power of Elijah
to turn the hearts of fathers toward children
and the disobedient to the understanding of the righteous,
to prepare a people fit for the Lord.”

Then Zechariah said to the angel,
“How shall I know this?
For I am an old man, and my wife is advanced in years.”
And the angel said to him in reply,
“I am Gabriel, who stand before God.
I was sent to speak to you and to announce to you this good news.
But now you will be speechless and unable to talk
until the day these things take place,
because you did not believe my words,
which will be fulfilled at their proper time.”
Meanwhile the people were waiting for Zechariah
and were amazed that he stayed so long in the sanctuary.
But when he came out, he was unable to speak to them,
and they realized that he had seen a vision in the sanctuary.
He was gesturing to them but remained mute.

Then, when his days of ministry were completed, he went home.

After this time his wife Elizabeth conceived,
and she went into seclusion for five months, saying,
“So has the Lord done for me at a time when he has seen fit
to take away my disgrace before others.”

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December 18, 2020


Friday of the Third Week of Advent
Lectionary: 194

Reading 1 – JER 23:5-8

Behold, the days are coming, says the LORD,
when I will raise up a righteous shoot to David;
As king he shall reign and govern wisely,
he shall do what is just and right in the land.
In his days Judah shall be saved,
Israel shall dwell in security.
This is the name they give him:
“The LORD our justice.”

Therefore, the days will come, says the LORD,
when they shall no longer say, “As the LORD lives,
who brought the children of Israel out of the land of Egypt”;
but rather, “As the LORD lives,
who brought the descendants of the house of Israel
up from the land of the north”–
and from all the lands to which I banished them;
they shall again live on their own land.

Responsorial Psalm – 72:1-2, 12-13, 18-19

R.     (see 7) Justice shall flourish in his time, and fullness of peace for ever.
O God, with your judgment endow the king,
and with your justice, the king’s son;
He shall govern your people with justice
and your afflicted ones with judgment.
R.    Justice shall flourish in his time, and fullness of peace for ever.
For he shall rescue the poor when he cries out,
and the afflicted when he has no one to help him.
He shall have pity for the lowly and the poor;
the lives of the poor he shall save.
R.    Justice shall flourish in his time, and fullness of peace for ever.
Blessed be the LORD, the God of Israel,
who alone does wondrous deeds.
And blessed forever be his glorious name;
may the whole earth be filled with his glory.
R.    Justice shall flourish in his time, and fullness of peace for ever.

Alleluia

R. Alleluia, alleluia.
O Leader of the House of Israel,
giver of the Law to Moses on Sinai:
come to rescue us with your mighty power!
R. Alleluia, alleluia.

Gospel – MT 1:18-25

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 be with child 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.
He had no relations with her until she bore a son,
and he named him Jesus.

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December 17, 2020


Thursday of the Third Week of Advent
Lectionary: 193

Reading 1 – GN 49:2, 8-10

Jacob called his sons and said to them:
“Assemble and listen, sons of Jacob,
listen to Israel, your father.

“You, Judah, shall your brothers praise
–your hand on the neck of your enemies;
the sons of your father shall bow down to you.
Judah, like a lion’s whelp,
you have grown up on prey, my son.
He crouches like a lion recumbent,
the king of beasts–who would dare rouse him?
The scepter shall never depart from Judah,
or the mace from between his legs,
While tribute is brought to him,
and he receives the people’s homage.”

Responsorial Psalm – 72:1-2, 3-4AB, 7-8, 17

R.    (see 7)  Justice shall flourish in his time, and fullness of peace for ever.
O God, with your judgment endow the king,
and with your justice, the king’s son;
He shall govern your people with justice
and your afflicted ones with judgment.
R.    Justice shall flourish in his time, and fullness of peace for ever.
The mountains shall yield peace for the people,
and the hills justice.
He shall defend the afflicted among the people,
save the children of the poor.
R.    Justice shall flourish in his time, and fullness of peace for ever.
Justice shall flower in his days,
and profound peace, till the moon be no more.
May he rule from sea to sea,
and from the River to the ends of the earth.
R.    Justice shall flourish in his time, and fullness of peace for ever.
May his name be blessed forever;
as long as the sun his name shall remain.
In him shall all the tribes of the earth be blessed;
all the nations shall proclaim his happiness.
R.    Justice shall flourish in his time, and fullness of peace for ever.

Alleluia

R. Alleluia, alleluia.
O Wisdom of our God Most High,
guiding creation with power and love:
come to teach us the path of knowledge!
R. Alleluia, alleluia.

Gospel – MT 1:1-17

The book of the genealogy of Jesus Christ,
the son of David, the son of Abraham.

Abraham became the father of Isaac,
Isaac the father of Jacob,
Jacob the father of Judah and his brothers.
Judah became the father of Perez and Zerah,
whose mother was Tamar.
Perez became the father of Hezron,
Hezron the father of Ram,
Ram the father of Amminadab.
Amminadab became the father of Nahshon,
Nahshon the father of Salmon,
Salmon the father of Boaz,
whose mother was Rahab.
Boaz became the father of Obed,
whose mother was Ruth.
Obed became the father of Jesse,
Jesse the father of David the king.

David became the father of Solomon,
whose mother had been the wife of Uriah.
Solomon became the father of Rehoboam,
Rehoboam the father of Abijah,
Abijah the father of Asaph.
Asaph became the father of Jehoshaphat,
Jehoshaphat the father of Joram,
Joram the father of Uzziah.
Uzziah became the father of Jotham,
Jotham the father of Ahaz,
Ahaz the father of Hezekiah.
Hezekiah became the father of Manasseh,
Manasseh the father of Amos,
Amos the father of Josiah.
Josiah became the father of Jechoniah and his brothers
at the time of the Babylonian exile.

After the Babylonian exile,
Jechoniah became the father of Shealtiel,
Shealtiel the father of Zerubbabel,
Zerubbabel the father of Abiud.
Abiud became the father of Eliakim,
Eliakim the father of Azor,
Azor the father of Zadok.
Zadok became the father of Achim,
Achim the father of Eliud,
Eliud the father of Eleazar.
Eleazar became the father of Matthan,
Matthan the father of Jacob,
Jacob the father of Joseph, the husband of Mary.
Of her was born Jesus who is called the Christ.

Thus the total number of generations
from Abraham to David
is fourteen generations;
from David to the Babylonian exile, fourteen generations;
from the Babylonian exile to the Christ,
fourteen generations.

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December 16, 2020


Wednesday of the Third Week of Advent
Lectionary: 189

Reading 1 – IS 45:6C-8, 18, 21C-25

I am the LORD, there is no other;
I form the light, and create the darkness,
I make well-being and create woe;
I, the LORD, do all these things.
Let justice descend, O heavens, like dew from above,
like gentle rain let the skies drop it down.
Let the earth open and salvation bud forth;
let justice also spring up!
I, the LORD, have created this.

For thus says the LORD,
The creator of the heavens,
who is God,
The designer and maker of the earth
who established it,
Not creating it to be a waste,
but designing it be lived in:
I am the LORD, and there is no other.

Who announced this from the beginning
and foretold it from of old?
Was it not I, the LORD,
besides whom there is no other God?
There is no just and saving God but me.

Turn to me and be safe,
all you ends of the earth,
for I am God; there is no other!
By myself I swear,
uttering my just decree
and my unalterable word:
To me every knee shall bend;
by me every tongue shall swear,
Saying, “Only in the LORD
are just deeds and power.
Before him in shame shall come
all who vent their anger against him.
In the LORD shall be the vindication and the glory
of all the descendants of Israel.”

Responsorial Psalm – 85:9AB AND 10, 11-12, 13-14

R.    (Isaiah 45:8)  Let the clouds rain down the Just One, and the earth bring forth a Savior.
I will hear what God proclaims;
the LORD–for he proclaims peace to his people.
Near indeed is his salvation to those who fear him,
glory dwelling in our land.
R.    Let the clouds rain down the Just One, and the earth bring forth a Savior.
Kindness and truth shall meet;
justice and peace shall kiss.
Truth shall spring out of the earth,
and justice shall look down from heaven.
R.    Let the clouds rain down the Just One, and the earth bring forth a Savior.
The LORD himself will give his benefits;
our land shall yield its increase.
Justice shall walk before him,
and salvation, along the way of his steps.
R.    Let the clouds rain down the Just One, and the earth bring forth a Savior.

Alleluia – SEE ISAIAH 40:9-10

R.    Alleluia, alleluia.
Raise your voice and tell the Good News:
Behold, the Lord GOD comes with power.
R.    Alleluia, alleluia.

Gospel – LK 7:18B-23

At that time,
John summoned two of his disciples and sent them to the Lord to ask,
“Are you the one who is to come, or should we look for another?”
When the men came to the Lord, they said,
“John the Baptist has sent us to you to ask,
‘Are you the one who is to come, or should we look for another?’”
At that time Jesus cured many of their diseases, sufferings, and evil spirits;
he also granted sight to many who were blind.
And Jesus said to them in reply,
“Go and tell John what you have seen and heard:
the blind regain their sight,
the lame walk,
lepers are cleansed,
the deaf hear, the dead are raised,
the poor have the good news proclaimed to them.
And blessed is the one who takes no offense at me.”

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December 15, 2020


Tuesday of the Third Week of Advent
Lectionary: 188

Reading 1 – ZEP 3:1-2, 9-13

Thus says the LORD:
Woe to the city, rebellious and polluted,
to the tyrannical city!
She hears no voice,
accepts no correction;
In the LORD she has not trusted,
to her God she has not drawn near.

For then I will change and purify
the lips of the peoples,
That they all may call upon the name of the LORD,
to serve him with one accord;
From beyond the rivers of Ethiopia
and as far as the recesses of the North,
they shall bring me offerings.

On that day
You need not be ashamed
of all your deeds,
your rebellious actions against me;
For then will I remove from your midst
the proud braggarts,
And you shall no longer exalt yourself
on my holy mountain.
But I will leave as a remnant in your midst
a people humble and lowly,
Who shall take refuge in the name of the LORD:
the remnant of Israel.
They shall do no wrong
and speak no lies;
Nor shall there be found in their mouths
a deceitful tongue;
They shall pasture and couch their flocks
with none to disturb them.

The word of the Lord.

Responsorial Psalm – 34:2-3, 6-7, 17-18, 19 AND 23

R.    (7A)  The Lord hears the cry of the poor.
I will bless the LORD at all times;
his praise shall be ever in my mouth.
Let my soul glory in the LORD;
the lowly will hear me and be glad.
R.    The Lord hears the cry of the poor.
Look to him that you may be radiant with joy,
and your faces may not blush with shame.
When the poor one called out, the LORD heard,
and from all his distress he saved him.
R.    The Lord hears the cry of the poor.
The LORD confronts the evildoers,
to destroy remembrance of them from the earth.
When the just cry out, the LORD hears them,
and from all their distress he rescues them.
R.    The Lord hears the cry of the poor.
The LORD is close to the brokenhearted;
and those who are crushed in spirit he saves.
The LORD redeems the lives of his servants;
no one incurs guilt who takes refuge in him.
R.    The Lord hears the cry of the poor.

Alleluia

R.    Alleluia, alleluia.
Come, O Lord, do not delay;
forgive the sins of your people.
R.    Alleluia, alleluia.

Gospel – MT 21:28-32

Jesus said to the chief priests and the elders of the people:
“What is your opinion?
A man had two sons.
He came to the first and said,
‘Son, go out and work in the vineyard today.’
The son said in reply, ‘I will not,’
but afterwards he changed his mind and went.
The man came to the other son and gave the same order.
He said in reply, ‘Yes, sir,’ but did not go.
Which of the two did his father’s will?”
They answered, “The first.”
Jesus said to them, “Amen, I say to you,
tax collectors and prostitutes
are entering the Kingdom of God before you.
When John came to you in the way of righteousness,
you did not believe him;
but tax collectors and prostitutes did.
Yet even when you saw that,
you did not later change your minds and believe him.”

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December 14, 2020


For the readings of the Memorial of Saint John of the Cross, please go here.

Monday of the Third Week of Advent
Lectionary: 187

Reading 1 – NM 24:2-7, 15-17A

When Balaam raised his eyes and saw Israel encamped, tribe by tribe,
the spirit of God came upon him,
and he gave voice to his oracle:

The utterance of Balaam, son of Beor,
the utterance of a man whose eye is true,
The utterance of one who hears what God says,
and knows what the Most High knows,
Of one who sees what the Almighty sees,
enraptured, and with eyes unveiled:
How goodly are your tents, O Jacob;
your encampments, O Israel!
They are like gardens beside a stream,
like the cedars planted by the LORD.
His wells shall yield free-flowing waters,
he shall have the sea within reach;
His king shall rise higher,
and his royalty shall be exalted.

Then Balaam gave voice to his oracle:

The utterance of Balaam, son of Beor,
the utterance of the man whose eye is true,
The utterance of one who hears what God says,
and knows what the Most High knows,
Of one who sees what the Almighty sees,
enraptured, and with eyes unveiled.
I see him, though not now;
I behold him, though not near:
A star shall advance from Jacob,
and a staff shall rise from Israel.

Responsorial Psalm – 25:4-5AB, 6 AND 7BC, 8-9

R.    (4) Teach me your ways, O Lord.
Your ways, O LORD, make known to me;
teach me your paths,
Guide me in your truth and teach me,
for you are God my savior.
R.    Teach me your ways, O Lord.
Remember that your compassion, O LORD,
and your kindness are from of old.
In your kindness remember me,
because of your goodness, O LORD.
R.    Teach me your ways, O Lord.
Good and upright is the LORD;
thus he shows sinners the way.
He guides the humble to justice,
he teaches the humble his way.
R.    Teach me your ways, O Lord.

Alleluia – PS 85:8

R. Alleluia, alleluia.
Show us, LORD, your love,
and grant us your salvation.
R. Alleluia, alleluia.

Gospel – MT 21:23-27

When Jesus had come into the temple area,
the chief priests and the elders of the people approached him
as he was teaching and said,
“By what authority are you doing these things?
And who gave you this authority?”
Jesus said to them in reply,
“I shall ask you one question, and if you answer it for me,
then I shall tell you by what authority I do these things.
Where was John’s baptism from?
Was it of heavenly or of human origin?”
They discussed this among themselves and said,
“If we say ‘Of heavenly origin,’ he will say to us,
‘Then why did you not believe him?’
But if we say, ‘Of human origin,’ we fear the crowd,
for they all regard John as a prophet.”
So they said to Jesus in reply, “We do not know.”
He himself said to them,
“Neither shall I tell you by what authority I do these things.”

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December 14, 2020 – Memorial of Saint John of the Cross, priest and doctor of the Church


For the readings on Monday of the Third Week of Advent, please go here.

Memorial of Saint John of the Cross, priest and doctor of the Church
Lectionary: 693

Reading 1 – 1 COR 2:1-10A

When I came to you, brothers and sisters,
proclaiming the mystery of God,
I did not come with sublimity of words or of wisdom.
For I resolved to know nothing while I was with you
except Jesus Christ, and him crucified.
I came to you in weakness and fear and much trembling,
and my message and my proclamation
were not with persuasive words of wisdom,
but with a demonstration of spirit and power,
so that your faith might rest not on human wisdom
but on the power of God.

Yet we do speak a wisdom to those who are mature,
but not a wisdom of this age,
nor of the rulers of this age who are passing away.
Rather, we speak God’s wisdom, mysterious, hidden,
which God predetermined before the ages for our glory,
and which none of the rulers of this age knew
for, if they had known it,
they would not have crucified the Lord of glory.
But as it is written:

What eye has not seen, and ear has not heard,
and what has not entered the human heart,
what God has prepared for those who love him,

this God has revealed to us through the Spirit.

Responsorial Psalm – PS 37:3-4, 5-6, 30-31

R.    (30A)  The mouth of the just murmurs wisdom.
Trust in the LORD and do good,
that you may dwell in the land and be fed in security.
Take delight in the LORD,
and he will grant you your heart’s request.
R.    The mouth of the just murmurs wisdom.
Commit to the LORD your way;
trust in him, and he will act.
He will make justice dawn for you like the light;
bright as the noonday shall be your vindication.
R.    The mouth of the just murmurs wisdom.
The mouth of the just tells of wisdom
and his tongue utters what is right.
The law of his God is in his heart,
and his steps do not falter.
R.    The mouth of the just murmurs wisdom.

Alleluia – MT 5:3

R.    Alleluia, alleluia.
Blessed are the poor in spirit;
the Kingdom of heaven is theirs.
R.    Alleluia, alleluia.

Gospel – LK 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,
every one of you who does not renounce all his possessions
cannot be my disciple.”

Saint John of the Cross, Priest and Doctor
1542–1591

A priest’s love of God is purified by the blue flames of contemplation and mistreatment

The Protestant Reformation sparked a purifying fire in the Catholic Church. Like a prairie fire scorches the thick grasses, thistle, and weeds, so the heat of the Counter-Reformation moved over the land, scorching the thicket of devotions, pious customs, and theological miscellania that had snagged and obscured the Church’s purest growth. Besides the universal reforms of the Council of Trent, men and women such as Saint John of the Cross were integral regional players in the Catholic Counter- Reformation. This movement stripped even mighty dioceses and religious orders of all padding, of all unnecessary raiment, and then built up a lean and muscular Body of Christ that moved with purpose and vigor for the next four centuries. But for many purifiers, including Saint John of the Cross, the price of such reform was steep and it was personal. Needed changes to his beloved Carmelites would mean the disruption of comfortable patterns of life. John’s ideas had enemies, and for his efforts he suffered exile, hunger, public lashings, imprisonment, and defamation from the hands of his own fellow Carmelites!

Saint John was born into poverty and so was no stranger to need. He was raised by his mother and the Church after his father died at a young age. These two mothers imparted to his mind a solid formation in Catholic doctrine and to his soul an ardent love for the Lord Jesus. John was ordained a priest for the Carmelites in 1567. He loved solitude and contemplation and so considered entering the strictest of Orders, the Carthusians. But holy people cross paths, and a chance meeting with Saint Teresa of Ávila redirected John’s vocation. Teresa’s combination of charm, intelligence, and drive were difficult to resist, and John fared no better than most. He quickly joined her project to recapture the original purity of the Carmelite Order. Many customs had attached themselves to the Order over time like barnacles on a ship. Now was the moment to scrape off the barnacles. John set out to found new, reformed Carmelite houses and to reinvigorate existing ones.

The reforms John and Teresa implemented were practical. The monks and nuns were to spend more hours chanting the breviary in common, to do more spiritual reading, to spend more hours in silence, to practice contemplative prayer, to abstain completely from meat and to endure longer, more radical fasts. The reformed Carmelites eventually became known after their most noticeable change. They strictly adhered to the Carmelite Rule’s original prohibition against wearing shoes. So by the time they were canonically established as their own Order, distinct from the historic Carmelites, they were called the Discalced, or Shoeless, Carmelites.

Saint John spent his life traveling throughout Central and Southern Spain carrying out an intense priestly ministry all while living a recollected life which his own contemporaries recognized as saintly. He was a chaplain to convents, a spiritual director to university colleges, a confessor, a preacher, a founder and a superior of monasteries. And, most distinctively, he was a contemplative who wrote with elegance and artistic flower about falling in love with God. His Dark Night of the SoulSpiritual CanticleAscent of Mount Carmel, and Living Flame of Love are, on their surface, poetic masterpieces of the Spanish language. At a deeper level, they each describe, in surprising detail and through various biblical metaphors, the soul’s search for Christ and its joy in finding Him, or its pain in losing Him. For John, being authentic was not a spirituality. Being bonded to Christ was. To see through material forms into God’s inner life, to contemplate God in His very nature, was prayer. The soul seeks God like the bride seeks her bridegroom. And the Bridegroom did more than manifest an image, He manifested reality. The Church is both mother and bride, and her faithful learn of Christ, and seek Him, only inside of her life. Saint John of the Cross deepened the word “mystery” to include more than its objective meaning in the Sacraments. For John, every soul had a mysterious union with God that had to be, and only could be, cultivated in silent contemplation.

Saint John of the Cross, your life of prayer was deepened by your life of suffering for the good of your Order. Through your writings on the mystery of God, may we come to love Him, if not understand Him, all the more.

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December 13, 2020


Third Sunday of Advent
Lectionary: 8

Reading 1 – IS 61:1-2A, 10-11

The spirit of the Lord GOD is upon me,
because the LORD has anointed me;
he has sent me to bring glad tidings to the poor,
to heal the brokenhearted,
to proclaim liberty to the captives
and release to the prisoners,
to announce a year of favor from the LORD
and a day of vindication by our God.

I rejoice heartily in the LORD,
in my God is the joy of my soul;
for he has clothed me with a robe of salvation
and wrapped me in a mantle of justice,
like a bridegroom adorned with a diadem,
like a bride bedecked with her jewels.
As the earth brings forth its plants,
and a garden makes its growth spring up,
so will the Lord GOD make justice and praise
spring up before all the nations.

Responsorial Psalm – LK 1:46-48, 49-50, 53-54.

R. (Is 61:10B) My soul rejoices in my God.
My soul proclaims the greatness of the Lord;
my spirit rejoices in God my Savior,
for he has looked upon his lowly servant.
From this day all generations will call me blessed:
R. My soul rejoices in my God.
the Almighty has done great things for me,
and holy is his Name.
He has mercy on those who fear him
in every generation.
R. My soul rejoices in my God.
He has filled the hungry with good things,
and the rich he has sent away empty.
He has come to the help of his servant Israel
for he has remembered his promise of mercy,
R. My soul rejoices in my God.

Reading 2 – 1 THES 5:16-24

1 Thes 5:16-24

Brothers and sisters:
Rejoice always. Pray without ceasing.
In all circumstances give thanks,
for this is the will of God for you in Christ Jesus.
Do not quench the Spirit.
Do not despise prophetic utterances.
Test everything; retain what is good.
Refrain from every kind of evil.

May the God of peace make you perfectly holy
and may you entirely, spirit, soul, and body,
be preserved blameless for the coming of our Lord Jesus Christ.
The one who calls you is faithful,
and he will also accomplish it.

Alleluia – IS 61:1 (CITED IN LK 4:18)

R. Alleluia, alleluia.
The Spirit of the Lord is upon me,
because he has anointed me
to bring glad tidings to the poor.
R. Alleluia, alleluia.

Gospel – JN 1:6-8, 19-28

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.

And this is the testimony of John.
When the Jews from Jerusalem sent priests
and Levites to him
to ask him, “Who are you?”
He admitted and did not deny it,
but admitted, “I am not the Christ.”
So they asked him,
“What are you then? Are you Elijah?”
And he said, “I am not.”
“Are you the Prophet?”
He answered, “No.”
So they said to him,
“Who are you, so we can give an answer to those who sent us?
What do you have to say for yourself?”
He said:
“I am the voice of one crying out in the desert,
‘make straight the way of the Lord,’”

as Isaiah the prophet said.”
Some Pharisees were also sent.
They asked him,
“Why then do you baptize
if you are not the Christ or Elijah or the Prophet?”
John answered them,
“I baptize with water;
but there is one among you whom you do not recognize,
the one who is coming after me,
whose sandal strap I am not worthy to untie.”
This happened in Bethany across the Jordan,
where John was baptizing.

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December 12, 2020


Sunday Vigil Mass

Feast of Our Lady of Guadalupe
Lectionary: 690A

Reading 1 – ZEC 2:14-17

Sing and rejoice, O daughter Zion!
See, I am coming to dwell among you, says the LORD.
Many nations shall join themselves to the LORD on that day,
and they shall be his people,
and he will dwell among you,
and you shall know that the LORD of hosts has sent me to you.
The LORD will possess Judah as his portion in the holy land,
and he will again choose Jerusalem.
Silence, all mankind, in the presence of the LORD!
For he stirs forth from his holy dwelling.

Or – Rv 11:19A; 12:1-6a, 10AB

God’s temple in heaven was opened,
and the ark of his covenant could be seen in the temple.

A great sign appeared in the sky, a woman clothed with the sun,
with the moon under her feet,
and on her head a crown of twelve stars.
She was with child and wailed aloud in pain as she labored to give birth.
Then another sign appeared in the sky;
it was a huge red dragon, with seven heads and ten horns,
and on its heads were seven diadems.
Its tail swept away a third of the stars in the sky
and hurled them down to the earth.
Then the dragon stood before the woman about to give birth,
to devour her child when she gave birth.  
She gave birth to a son, a male child,
destined to rule all the nations with an iron rod.
Her child was caught up to God and his throne.
The woman herself fled into the desert
where she had a place prepared by God.

Then I heard a loud voice in heaven say:
“Now have salvation and power come,
and the Kingdom of our God
and the authority of his Anointed.”

Responsorial Psalm – JUDITH 13:18BCDE, 19

R.    (15:9D)  You are the highest honor of our race.
Blessed are you, daughter, by the Most High God,
above all the women on earth;
and blessed be the LORD God,
the creator of heaven and earth.
R.    You are the highest honor of our race.
Your deed of hope will never be forgotten
by those who tell of the might of God.
R.    You are the highest honor of our race.

Alleluia

R. Alleluia, alleluia.
Blessed are you, holy Virgin Mary, deserving of all praise;
from you rose the sun of justice, Christ our God.
R. Alleluia, alleluia.

Gospel – LK 1:26-38

The angel Gabriel was sent from God
to a town of Galilee called Nazareth,
to a virgin betrothed to a man named Joseph,
of the house of David,
and the virgin’s name was Mary.
And coming to her, he said,
“Hail, full of grace! The Lord is with you.”
But she was greatly troubled at what was said
and pondered what sort of greeting this might be.
Then the angel said to her,
“Do not be afraid, Mary,
for you have found favor with God.
Behold, you will conceive in your womb and bear a son,
and you shall name him Jesus.
He will be great and will be called Son of the Most High,
and the Lord God will give him the throne of David his father,
and he will rule over the house of Jacob forever,
and of his Kingdom there will be no end.”
But Mary said to the angel,
“How can this be,
since I have no relations with a man?”
And the angel said to her in reply,
“The Holy Spirit will come upon you,
and the power of the Most High will overshadow you.
Therefore the child to be born
will be called holy, the Son of God.
And behold, Elizabeth, your relative,
has also conceived a son in her old age,
and this is the sixth month for her who was called barren;
for nothing will be impossible for God.”
Mary said, “Behold, I am the handmaid of the Lord.
May it be done to me according to your word.”
Then the angel departed from her.

Or – Lk 1:39-47

Mary set out
and traveled to the hill country in haste
to a town of Judah,
where she entered the house of Zechariah
and greeted Elizabeth.
When Elizabeth heard Mary’s greeting,
the infant leaped in her womb,
and Elizabeth, filled with the Holy Spirit,
cried out in a loud voice and said,
“Most blessed are you among women,
and blessed is the fruit of your womb.
And how does this happen to me,
that the mother of my Lord should come to me?
For at the moment the sound of your greeting reached my ears,
the infant in my womb leaped for joy.
Blessed are you who believed
that what was spoken to you by the Lord
would be fulfilled.”

And Mary said:

“My soul proclaims the greatness of the Lord;
my spirit rejoices in God my savior.”

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December 11, 2020


For the readings of the Optional Memorial of Saint Damasus I, please go here.

Friday of the Second Week of Advent
Lectionary: 185

Reading 1 – IS 48:17-19

Thus says the LORD, your redeemer,
the Holy One of Israel:
I, the LORD, your God,
teach you what is for your good,
and lead you on the way you should go.
If you would hearken to my commandments,
your prosperity would be like a river,
and your vindication like the waves of the sea;
Your descendants would be like the sand,
and those born of your stock like its grains,
Their name never cut off
or blotted out from my presence.

Responsorial Psalm – 1:1-2, 3, 4 AND 6

R.    (see John 8:12)  Those who follow you, Lord, will have the light of life.
Blessed the man who follows not
the counsel of the wicked
Nor walks in the way of sinners,
nor sits in the company of the insolent,
But delights in the law of the LORD
and meditates on his law day and night.
R.    Those who follow you, Lord, will have the light of life.
He is like a tree
planted near running water,
That yields its fruit in due season,
and whose leaves never fade.
Whatever he does, prospers.
R.    Those who follow you, Lord, will have the light of life.
Not so the wicked, not so;
they are like chaff which the wind drives away.
For the LORD watches over the way of the just,
but the way of the wicked vanishes.
R.    Those who follow you, Lord, will have the light of life.

Alleluia

R. Alleluia, alleluia.
The Lord will come; go out to meet him!
He is the prince of peace.
R. Alleluia, alleluia.

Gospel – MT 11:16-19

Jesus said to the crowds:
“To what shall I compare this generation?
It is like children who sit in marketplaces and call to one another,
‘We played the flute for you, but you did not dance,
we sang a dirge but you did not mourn.’
For John came neither eating nor drinking, and they said,
‘He is possessed by a demon.’
The Son of Man came eating and drinking and they said,
‘Look, he is a glutton and a drunkard,
a friend of tax collectors and sinners.’
But wisdom is vindicated by her works.”

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December 11, 2020 – Memorial of Saint Damasus I, pope


For the readings on Friday of the Second Week of Advent, please go here.

Optional Memorial of Saint Damasus I, pope
Lectionary: 690

Reading 1 – ACTS 20:17-18A, 28-32, 36

From Miletus Paul had the presbyters
of the Church at Ephesus summoned.
When they came to him, he addressed them,
“Keep watch over yourselves and over the whole flock
of which the Holy Spirit has appointed you overseers,
in which you tend the Church of God
that he acquired with his own Blood.
I know that after my departure savage wolves will come among you,
and they will not spare the flock.
And from your own group,
men will come forward perverting the truth
to draw the disciples away after them.
So be vigilant and remember that for three years, night and day,
I unceasingly admonished each of you with tears.
And now I commend you to God
and to that gracious word of his that can build you up
and give you the inheritance among all who are consecrated.”

When he had finished speaking
he knelt down and prayed with them all.

Responsorial Psalm – PS 110:1, 2, 3, 4

R.    (4B)  You are a priest for ever, in the line of Melchizedek.
The LORD said to my Lord: “Sit at my right hand
till I make your enemies your footstool.”
R.    You are a priest for ever, in the line of Melchizedek.
The scepter of your power the LORD will stretch forth from Zion:
“Rule in the midst of your enemies.”
R.    You are a priest for ever, in the line of Melchizedek.
“Yours is princely power in the day of your birth, in holy splendor;
before the daystar, like the dew, I have begotten you.”
R.    You are a priest for ever, in the line of Melchizedek.
The LORD has sworn, and he will not repent:
“You are a priest forever, according to the order of Melchizedek.”
R.    You are a priest for ever, in the line of Melchizedek.

Alleluia – JN 15:15B

R.    Alleluia, alleluia.
I call you my friends, says the Lord,
for I have made known to you all that the Father has told me.
R.    Alleluia, alleluia.

Gospel – JN 15:9-17

Jesus said to his disciples:
“As the Father loves me, so I also love you.
Remain in my love.
If you keep my commandments, you will remain in my love,
just as I have kept my Father’s commandments
and remain in his love.

“I have told you this so that my joy might be in you
and your joy might be complete.
This is my commandment: love one another as I love you.
No one has greater love than this,
to lay down one’s life for one’s friends.
You are my friends if you do what I command you.
I no longer call you slaves,
because a slave does not know what his master is doing.
I have called you friends,
because I have told you everything I have heard from my Father.
It was not you who chose me, but I who chose you
and appointed you to go and bear fruit that will remain,
so that whatever you ask the Father in my name he may give you.
This I command you: love one another.”

Saint Damasus I, Pope
c. 305–384

An ascendant Church’s dynamic leader mentors Jerome and embellishes the catacombs

Damasus reigned in the era when the popes died in their beds. The long winter of Roman oppression had ended. The arenas were empty. Christians were still occasionally martyred, but not in Rome. The many popes of the 200s who were exiled, murdered, or imprisoned were consigned to history by the late 300s. The Church was not merely legal by Damasus’ time but was established, by decree, in 380 as the official religion of the Roman Empire. The slow-motion crumbling of paganism was such that Christian Senators and Pope Damasus petitioned the emperor that a prominent and famed Altar of Victory in the Senate be removed. The request was granted. No more Vestal Virgins, pagan priests reading entrails, a Pontifex Maximus, or auguries either. The Church was in the ascendancy. As Rome’s military prowess deteriorated and the Eastern Empire was theologically mangled by the Arian controversy, the Bishop of Rome’s importance swelled. Pope Damasus rode the first wave of these historical and religious trends. He was perhaps the first pope to rule with swagger.

Damasus was of Spanish origins, and his father was likely a married priest serving in Rome’s church of the martyr Saint Lawrence. Damasus was probably a deacon in that same church. He was elected Bishop of Rome in 366 but not without some controversy. A rival was aggressively supported by a violent minority who defamed Damasus, though they never removed him. Damasus cared for theology and held two synods in Rome, one of which excommunicated the Arian Bishop of Milan, making way for Saint Ambrose to later hold that see. Pope Damasus also sent legates to the First Council of Constantinople in 381, which reiterated and sharpened the language of the Creed developed at Nicea in 325. Perhaps Damasus’ greatest legacy is not directly his own. He employed a talented young priest-scholar named Jerome as his personal secretary. It was Damasus who instructed Jerome to undertake his colossal, lifelong task of compiling from the original Greek and Hebrew texts a new Latin version of the Old and New Testaments to replace the poorly translated Old Latin Bibles then in use. The Vulgate, as Jerome’s work is known, has been the official Bible of the Catholic Church since its completion.

Rome’s theological ascendancy made its bishop the Empire’s primary source and focus of unity. This, in turn, led to accusations, first aired in Damasus’ time, that Rome’s prelates lived in excessive grandeur. One pagan senator said mockingly that if he could live like a bishop he would gladly become a Christian. Similar charges would hound Rome throughout history. But Damasus strictly enforced a decree prohibiting clergy from accepting gifts from widows and orphans, and he himself lived a holy life. He restored his father’s house church, now called Saint Lawrence in Damasus. The church still reflects its origins and is found inside of a larger building, just as a house church would have been.

Pope Damasus also left a beautiful legacy in Rome’s catacombs, a legacy which has only been fully appreciated due to modern archeological excavations. Damasus was very devoted to Rome’s martyrs and embellished many of their tombs with brief Latin inscriptions. The papal crypt in the Catacombs of Saint Callixtus still houses the original marble slab engraved with Damasus’ moving eulogy to the popes and martyrs entombed nearby. The epitaph ends with Damasus stating that although he wished to be buried in that crypt, he did not want to offend such holy remains with his presence. But Damasus composed his most tender epitaph for his own tomb: “He who walking on the sea could calm its bitter waves; He who gives life to dying seeds of the earth; He who was able to loose the mortal chains of death, and after three days’ darkness could bring forth the brother for his sister Martha; He, I believe, will make Damasus rise anew from his ashes.” Damasus was clearly a Christian first and a pope second.

Saint Damasus, you led the Church with a mixture of theological acumen, administrative competence, holy witness, and artistic flourish. Intercede in heaven for all who exercise headship in the Church to lead Her with attributes similar to your own.

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December 10, 2020


For the Optional Memorial of Our Lady of Loreto, please go here.

Wednesday of the Second Week of Advent
Lectionary: 184

Reading 1 – IS 41:13-20

I am the LORD, your God,
who grasp your right hand;
It is I who say to you, “Fear not,
I will help you.”
Fear not, O worm Jacob,
O maggot Israel;
I will help you, says the LORD;
your redeemer is the Holy One of Israel.
I will make of you a threshing sledge,
sharp, new, and double-edged,
To thresh the mountains and crush them,
to make the hills like chaff.
When you winnow them, the wind shall carry them off
and the storm shall scatter them.
But you shall rejoice in the LORD,
and glory in the Holy One of Israel.

The afflicted and the needy seek water in vain,
their tongues are parched with thirst.
I, the LORD, will answer them;
I, the God of Israel, will not forsake them.
I will open up rivers on the bare heights,
and fountains in the broad valleys;
I will turn the desert into a marshland,
and the dry ground into springs of water.
I will plant in the desert the cedar,
acacia, myrtle, and olive;
I will set in the wasteland the cypress,
together with the plane tree and the pine,
That all may see and know,
observe and understand,
That the hand of the LORD has done this,
the Holy One of Israel has created it.

Responsorial Psalm – 145:1 AND 9, 10-11, 12-13AB

R.    (8)  The Lord is gracious and merciful; slow to anger, and of great kindness.
I will extol you, O my God and King,
and I will bless your name forever and ever.
The LORD is good to all
and compassionate toward all his works.
R.    The Lord is gracious and merciful; slow to anger, and of great kindness.
Let all your works give you thanks, O LORD,
and let your faithful ones bless you.
Let them discourse of the glory of your Kingdom
and speak of your might.
R.    The Lord is gracious and merciful; slow to anger, and of great kindness.
Let them make known to men your might
and the glorious splendor of your Kingdom.
Your Kingdom is a Kingdom for all ages,
and your dominion endures through all generations.
R.    The Lord is gracious and merciful; slow to anger, and of great kindness.

Alleluia – SEE IS 45:8

R. Alleluia, alleluia.
Let the clouds rain down the Just One,
and the earth bring forth a Savior.
R. Alleluia, alleluia.

Gospel – MT 11:11-15

Jesus said to the crowds:
“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.
From the days of John the Baptist until now,
the Kingdom of heaven suffers violence,
and the violent are taking it by force.
All the prophets and the law prophesied up to the time of John.
And if you are willing to accept it,
he is Elijah, the one who is to come.
Whoever has ears ought to hear.”

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December 10, 2020 – Memorial of Our Lady of Loreto


For the readings on Wednesday of the Second Week of Advent, please go here.

Optional Memorial of Our Lady of Loreto
Lectionary: 689B

Reading 1 – IS 7:10-14; 8:10

The LORD spoke to Ahaz, saying:
Ask for a sign from the LORD, your God;
let it be deep as the nether world, or high as the sky!
But Ahaz answered,
“I will not ask! I will not tempt the LORD!”
Then Isaiah said: 
Listen, O house of David!
Is it not enough for you to weary people,
must you also weary my God?
Therefore the Lord himself will give you this sign:
the virgin shall be with child, and bear a son,
and shall name him Emmanuel,
which means “God is with us!” 

Responsorial Psalm – LK 1:46-47, 48-49, 50-51, 52-53, 54-55

R.  (49)  The Almighty has done great things for me, and holy is his Name.
or:
R. O Blessed Virgin Mary, you carried the Son of the eternal Father.
“My soul proclaims the greatness of the Lord,
my spirit rejoices in God my Savior.”
R. The Almighty has done great things for me, and holy is his Name.
or:
R. O Blessed Virgin Mary, you carried the Son of the eternal Father.
“For he has looked upon his lowly servant.
From this day all generations will call me blessed:
the Almighty has done great things for me,
and holy is his Name.”
R.  The Almighty has done great things for me, and holy is his Name.
or:
R. O Blessed Virgin Mary, you carried the Son of the eternal Father.
“He has mercy on those who fear him
in every generation.
He has shown the strength of his arm,
he has scattered the proud in their conceit.”
R. The Almighty has done great things for me, and holy is his Name.
or:
R.    O Blessed Virgin Mary, you carried the Son of the eternal Father.
“He has cast down the mighty from their thrones,
and has lifted up the lowly.
He has filled the hungry with good things,
and the rich he has sent away empty.”
R. The Almighty has done great things for me, and holy is his Name.
or:
R. O Blessed Virgin Mary, you carried the Son of the eternal Father.
“He has come to the help of his servant Israel
for he has remembered his promise of mercy,
the promise he made to our fathers,
to Abraham and his children forever.”
R. The Almighty has done great things for me, and holy is his Name.
or:
R. O Blessed Virgin Mary, you carried the Son of the eternal Father.

Alleluia – LK 1:28

R. Alleluia, alleluia.
Hail, Mary, full of grace, the Lord is with you;
blessed are you among women.
R. Alleluia, alleluia.

Alleluia – LK 1:26-38

The angel Gabriel was sent from God
to a town of Galilee called Nazareth,
to a virgin betrothed to a man named Joseph,
of the house of David,
and the virgin’s name was Mary.
And coming to her, he said,
“Hail, full of grace! The Lord is with you.”
But she was greatly troubled at what was said
and pondered what sort of greeting this might be.
Then the angel said to her,
“Do not be afraid, Mary,
for you have found favor with God.
Behold, you will conceive in your womb and bear a son,
and you shall name him Jesus.
He will be great and will be called Son of the Most High,
and the Lord God will give him the throne of David his father,
and he will rule over the house of Jacob forever,
and of his Kingdom there will be no end.”
But Mary said to the angel,
“How can this be,
since I have no relations with a man?”
And the angel said to her in reply,
“The Holy Spirit will come upon you,
and the power of the Most High will overshadow you.
Therefore the child to be born
will be called holy, the Son of God.
And behold, Elizabeth, your relative,
has also conceived a son in her old age,
and this is the sixth month for her who was called barren;
for nothing will be impossible for God.”
Mary said, “Behold, I am the handmaid of the Lord.
May it be done to me according to your word.”
Then the angel departed from her.

Our Lady of Loreto

Heaven will reinforce what we already know of Christ and Mary

When Jesus said, “Everyone then who hears these words of mine and acts on them will be like a wise man who built his house on rock” (Mt 7:24), He likely had a specific house in mind—His own house in Nazareth where He grew up. The footings of many of Nazareth’s houses are lodged, even today, into the dense bed of rock that lies under much of the town. Ancient tradition holds that the Virgin Mary was raised in Nazareth, was visited by the Archangel Gabriel in her home there, and then lived in that same home with her husband, Joseph, and her son, Jesus. Jesus would leave Nazareth as an adult for the larger, more cosmopolitan town of Capernaum, about one day away by foot, but He was always identified with His hometown.

The Holy Family’s house in Nazareth has a complicated and obscure history. What is known is that the knights of the First Crusade took control of Galilee in 1099 and made Nazareth their capital. The Italian Angeli family began to reconstruct the Holy Family’s house when a Muslim army won a key battle in 1187 near Nazareth, forcing all the Europeans to flee. The Angelis disassembled stones of the Holy Family’s house and shipped them to Italy by way of modern-day Croatia. The stones were ultimately reconstructed in 1294–95 in their present location in Loreto, where the labors of the Angelis in bringing the stones by ship turned into the legend that “angels” had scooped up the home in Nazareth and transported it through the air to Loreto. In the succeeding centuries, the small stone house was enclosed within an elaborate marble structure within an ornate papal basilica, which became one of the most visited Marian shrines in the world.

Our Lady of Loreto is the title of the statue of the blackened Virgin found in the Holy House. By the 1600s, a beautiful “Litany of Loreto”enumerating Mary’s biblically rich and theologically evocative titles became a popular Catholic devotion. In October 2019, Pope Francis went on pilgrimage to Loreto and announced that December 10 would henceforward be the Optional Memorial of Our Lady of Loreto on the Church’s universal calendar. The formal decree instituting the change states that the new feast “will help all people, especially families, youth and religious to imitate the virtues of the perfect disciple of the Gospel, the Virgin Mother, who, in conceiving the head of the church also accepted us as her own.”

The unwrapped gift of the Virgin Mary conceived the Lord amid her domestic concerns in the privacy of her family home in an insignificant hamlet. God did not spare Mary the demands He imposes on every human soul. The Christian God complicated Mary’s life just as He complicates every life. God is not an electric blanket or a pacifier. In satisfying His demands, we find ourselves; in imposing demands on ourselves, we find fulfillment. For the Christian, the goal of life is not happiness but meaning. And meaning is found by acquiring virtues, by attaining holy goals, by maturing through adversity, and by self-knowledge gained through prayer, among many other pathways. The dysfunctions of modernity are often the results of fools’ errands, of the search for deep meaning in hobbies, activities, clubs, sports, and occupations that, though worthy in themselves, are simply incapable of satisfying the most secret longings of the human soul. It is common to ask a pregnant woman, “What are you expecting?” Mary in the silence of her holy house was expecting the Savior, but she kept this immense secret locked inside the chamber of her heart. Perhaps Mary might ask us, with mirth, when we hopefully see her crowned in heaven, surrounded by a constellation of saints, “What were you expecting?” For the Catholic, heaven will be an intensification of what we already know.

Our Lady of Loreto, we ask your intercession to intercede on behalf of all who have recourse to you. Grant us the grace to respond generously to all of God’s invitations to holiness, though they may disrupt our domestic duties and life’s plans.

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December 9, 2020


For the readings of the Optional Memorial of Saint Juan Diego Cuauhtlatoatzin, please go here.

Wednesday of the Second Week of Advent
Lectionary: 183

Reading 1 – IS 40:25-31

To whom can you liken me as an equal?
says the Holy One.
Lift up your eyes on high
and see who has created these things:
He leads out their army and numbers them,
calling them all by name.
By his great might and the strength of his power
not one of them is missing!
Why, O Jacob, do you say,
and declare, O Israel,
“My way is hidden from the LORD,
and my right is disregarded by my God”?

Do you not know
or have you not heard?
The LORD is the eternal God,
creator of the ends of the earth.
He does not faint nor grow weary,
and his knowledge is beyond scrutiny.
He gives strength to the fainting;
for the weak he makes vigor abound.
Though young men faint and grow weary,
and youths stagger and fall,
They that hope in the LORD will renew their strength,
they will soar as with eagles’ wings;
They will run and not grow weary,
walk and not grow faint.

Responsorial Psalm – 103:1-2, 3-4, 8 AND 10

R.    (1)  O bless the Lord, my soul!
Bless the LORD, O my soul;
and all my being, bless his holy name.
Bless the LORD, O my soul,
and forget not all his benefits.
R.    O bless the Lord, my soul!
He pardons all your iniquities,
he heals all your ills.
He redeems your life from destruction,
he crowns you with kindness and compassion.
R.    O bless the Lord, my soul!
Merciful and gracious is the LORD,
slow to anger and abounding in kindness.
Not according to our sins does he deal with us,
nor does he requite us according to our crimes.
R.    O bless the Lord, my soul!

Alleluia

R. Alleluia, alleluia.
Behold, the Lord comes to save his people;
blessed are those prepared to meet him.
R. Alleluia, alleluia.

Gospel – MT 11:28-30

Jesus said to the crowds:
“Come to me, all you who labor and are burdened,
and I will give you rest.
Take my yoke upon you and learn from me,
for I am meek and humble of heart;
and you will find rest for yourselves.
For my yoke is easy, and my burden light.”

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December 9, 2020 – Memorial of Saint. Juan Diego Cuauhtlatoatzin


For the readings on Wednesday of the Second Week of Advent, please go here.

Memorial of Saint Juan Diego Cuauhtlatoatzin
Lectionary: 510

Reading 1 – 1 COR 1:26-31

Consider your own calling, brothers and sisters.
Not many of you were wise by human standards,
    not many were powerful,
    not many were of noble birth.
Rather, God chose the foolish of the world to shame the wise,
    and God chose the weak of the world to shame the strong,
    and God chose the lowly and despised of the world,
    those who count for nothing,
    to reduce to nothing those who are something,
    so that no human being might boast before God.
It is due to him that you are in Christ Jesus,
    who became for us wisdom from God,
    as well as righteousness, sanctification, and redemption,
    so that, as it is written,
    Whoever boasts, should boast in the Lord.

Responsorial Psalm – PS 131:1BCDE, 2, 3

R.  In you, Lord, I have found my peace.
O LORD, my heart is not proud,
    nor are my eyes haughty;
I busy not myself with great things,
    nor with things too sublime for me.  
R.  In you, Lord, I have found my peace.
Nay rather, I have stilled and quieted
    my soul like a weaned child.
Like a weaned child on its mother’s lap,
    so is my soul within me.  
R.  In you, Lord, I have found my peace.
O Israel, hope in the LORD,
    both now and forever.
R.  In you, Lord, I have found my peace.

Alleluia – MT 11:25

R.  Alleluia, alleluia.

Blessed are you, Father, Lord of heaven and earth;
you have revealed to little ones the mysteries of the Kingdom.  

R.  Alleluia, alleluia.

Gospel – MT 11:25-30

At that time Jesus exclaimed:
“I give praise to you, Father, Lord of heaven and earth,
    for although you have hidden these things
    from the wise and the learned
    you have revealed them to the childlike.
Yes, Father, such has been your gracious will.
All things have been handed over to me by my Father.
No one knows the Son except the Father,
    and no one knows the Father except the Son
    and anyone to whom the Son wishes to reveal him.

“Come to me, all you who labor and are burdened,
    and I will give you rest.
Take my yoke upon you and learn from me,
    for I am meek and humble of heart;
    and you will find rest for yourselves.
For my yoke is easy, and my burden light.”

Saint Juan Diego Cuauhtlatoatzin
1474–1548

Mary said to Juan: “Am I not here, I who am your mother?”

Good things happen to those who go to daily Mass. A very good thing happened to today’s saint on his long trek to daily Mass, something so extraordinary that it permanently altered a continent. Juan Diego Cuauhtlatoatzin (the “Talking Eagle”) was born near present-day Mexico City in the pre-Colombian Aztec Empire, though he belonged to the Chichimec, not the Aztec, people. At the age of fifty, Juan received baptism from a Franciscan priest, about five years after those path-breaking missionaries had first walked barefoot from coastal Veracruz into the Aztec heartland. Juan must have quickly fell in love with his newfound faith, because he visited God as one visits a sturdy friend, more than just once a week.

On Saturday, December 9, 1531, Juan was walking to Mass and crossed over a small hill called Tepeyac. A mysterious woman appeared to him speaking Nahuatl, the local language. The woman quickly identified herself as the “Ever-Virgin Holy Mary, Mother of the true God” and asked Juan to approach the Bishop to petition that a shrine be built in her honor on that very hill. So the humble Juan went and knocked on the door of one of the most powerful men in the new Spanish dominion. The Bishop was solicitous but cautious and requested a sign to buttress Juan’s credibility and his request. A series of events then transpired which culminated on Tuesday, December 12. On that day, Juan presented the Bishop with flowers, carefully cradled in his poncho, which Mary had directed him to collect. When Juan unfurled his poncho in the Bishop’s presence, everyone saw then what everyone sees now in the Basilica of Our Lady of Guadalupe in Mexico City—the young, pregnant Mary of Tepeyac emblazoned, in full color, on Juan’s coarse poncho.

An early document holds that, after 1531, Juan Diego, whose wife had died by then, spent the rest of his days living the life of a hermit near the chapel on Tepeyac housing the miraculous image. Juan likely welcomed the first waves of pilgrims who visited the primitive shrine to pay homage to Our Lady of Guadalupe. It is difficult to imagine anyone returning to his or her everyday existence after seeing, hearing, and conversing with God, Mary, or a saint. Some experiences are “before” and “after” events, their profundity divides life into halves or portions: a divorce, a dreadful medical diagnosis,  a financial collapse, a child’s death, a crippling accident, or, on the positive side and much more rarely, a divine locution, an apparition, or an unmistakable spiritual intervention, all divert the straight line of a life’s graph.

The days between December 9 and the vigil of December 12 are a kind of Mexican Triduum, when that nation celebrates founding events which have nothing to do with legal documents. Nation-building requires more than just a constitution or the winning of a key battle. Building an enduring people requires a shared language, a common history, an undivided religious outlook, and a unity of cultural expression. If there is a source of Mexican unity, it is found in the vision of the humble servant Saint Juan Diego. Millions of pilgrims endlessly process, day after day, year after year, century after century, before the miraculous image in the most visited Marian shrine in the world. These citizens don’t go to Mexico’s national archives to search for words on a faded parchment, but to a shrine to gaze in wonder at a young woman imprinted vividly on rough cactus fibers. The faithful arrive on pilgrimage, often on foot, to bow their heads, to light a candle, and to pray before the permanent miracle that is a simple Indian’s gift to the Church. They come to visit a person, not an idea, because a person can absorb our love and love us back.

Saint Juan Diego, we ask your humble intercession in heaven to assist all those who doubt the power of God and His saints. May your example of fidelity and service inspire us to holiness as much as your miraculous tilma.

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December 8, 2020


Solemnity of the Immaculate Conception of the Blessed Virgin Mary
Lectionary: 689

Reading 1 – GN 3:9-15, 20

After the man, Adam, had eaten of the tree,
the LORD God called to the man and asked him, “Where are you?”
He answered, “I heard you in the garden;
but I was afraid, because I was naked,
so I hid myself.”
Then he asked, “Who told you that you were naked?
You have eaten, then,
from the tree of which I had forbidden you to eat!”
The man replied, “The woman whom you put here with meC
she gave me fruit from the tree, and so I ate it.”
The LORD God then asked the woman,
“Why did you do such a thing?”
The woman answered, “The serpent tricked me into it, so I ate it.”

Then the LORD God said to the serpent:
“Because you have done this, you shall be banned
from all the animals
and from all the wild creatures;
on your belly shall you crawl,
and dirt shall you eat
all the days of your life.
I will put enmity between you and the woman,
and between your offspring and hers;
he will strike at your head,
while you strike at his heel.”

The man called his wife Eve,
because she became the mother of all the living.

Responsorial Psalm – 98:1, 2-3AB, 3CD-4

R.    (1)  Sing to the Lord a new song, for he has done marvelous deeds.
Sing to the LORD a new song,
for he has done wondrous deeds;
His right hand has won victory for him,
his holy arm.
R.    Sing to the Lord a new song, for he has done marvelous deeds.
The LORD has made his salvation known:
in the sight of the nations he has revealed his justice.
He has remembered his kindness and his faithfulness
toward the house of Israel.
R.    Sing to the Lord a new song, for he has done marvelous deeds.
All the ends of the earth have seen
the salvation by our God.
Sing joyfully to the LORD, all you lands;
break into song; sing praise.
R.    Sing to the Lord a new song, for he has done marvelous deeds.

Reading 2 – EPH 1:3-6, 11-12

Brothers and sisters:
Blessed be the God and Father of our Lord Jesus Christ,
who has blessed us in Christ
with every spiritual blessing in the heavens,
as he chose us in him, before the foundation of the world,
to be holy and without blemish before him.
In love he destined us for adoption to himself through Jesus Christ,
in accord with the favor of his will,
for the praise of the glory of his grace
that he granted us in the beloved.

In him we were also chosen,
destined in accord with the purpose of the One
who accomplishes all things according to the intention of his will,
so that we might exist for the praise of his glory,
we who first hoped in Christ.

Alleluia – SEE LK 1:28

R. Alleluia, alleluia.
Hail, Mary, full of grace, the Lord is with you;
blessed are you among women.
R. Alleluia, alleluia.

Gospel – LK 1:26-38


The angel Gabriel was sent from God
to a town of Galilee called Nazareth,
to a virgin betrothed to a man named Joseph,
of the house of David,
and the virgin’s name was Mary.
And coming to her, he said,
“Hail, full of grace! The Lord is with you.”
But she was greatly troubled at what was said
and pondered what sort of greeting this might be.
Then the angel said to her,
“Do not be afraid, Mary,
for you have found favor with God.
Behold, you will conceive in your womb and bear a son,
and you shall name him Jesus.
He will be great and will be called Son of the Most High,
and the Lord God will give him the throne of David his father,
and he will rule over the house of Jacob forever,
and of his Kingdom there will be no end.”
But Mary said to the angel,
“How can this be,
since I have no relations with a man?”
And the angel said to her in reply,
“The Holy Spirit will come upon you,
and the power of the Most High will overshadow you.
Therefore the child to be born
will be called holy, the Son of God.
And behold, Elizabeth, your relative,
has also conceived a son in her old age,
and this is the sixth month for her who was called barren;
for nothing will be impossible for God.”
Mary said, “Behold, I am the handmaid of the Lord.
May it be done to me according to your word.”
Then the angel departed from her.

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December 7, 2020


For the readings of the Memorial of Saint Ambrose, please go here.

Memorial of Saint Ambrose, Bishop and Doctor of the Church
Lectionary: 181

Reading 1 – IS 35:1-10

The desert and the parched land will exult;
the steppe will rejoice and bloom.
They will bloom with abundant flowers,
and rejoice with joyful song.
The glory of Lebanon will be given to them,
the splendor of Carmel and Sharon;
They will see the glory of the LORD,
the splendor of our God.
Strengthen the hands that are feeble,
make firm the knees that are weak,
Say to those whose hearts are frightened:
Be strong, fear not!
Here is your God,
he comes with vindication;
With divine recompense
he comes to save you.
Then will the eyes of the blind be opened,
the ears of the deaf be cleared;
Then will the lame leap like a stag,
then the tongue of the mute will sing.

Streams will burst forth in the desert,
and rivers in the steppe.
The burning sands will become pools,
and the thirsty ground, springs of water;
The abode where jackals lurk
will be a marsh for the reed and papyrus.
A highway will be there,
called the holy way;
No one unclean may pass over it,
nor fools go astray on it.
No lion will be there,
nor beast of prey go up to be met upon it.
It is for those with a journey to make,
and on it the redeemed will walk.
Those whom the LORD has ransomed will return
and enter Zion singing,
crowned with everlasting joy;
They will meet with joy and gladness,
sorrow and mourning will flee.

Responsorial Psalm – 85:9AB AND 10, 11-12, 13-14

R.    (Isaiah 35:4F)  Our God will come to save us!
I will hear what God proclaims;
the LORD –for he proclaims peace to his people.
Near indeed is his salvation to those who fear him,
glory dwelling in our land.
R.    Our God will come to save us!
Kindness and truth shall meet;
justice and peace shall kiss.
Truth shall spring out of the earth,
and justice shall look down from heaven.
R.    Our God will come to save us!
The LORD himself will give his benefits;
our land shall yield its increase.
Justice shall walk before him,
and salvation, along the way of his steps.
R.    Our God will come to save us!

Alleluia

R. Alleluia, alleluia.
Behold the king will come, the Lord of the earth,
and he himself will lift the yoke of our capacity.
R. Alleluia, alleluia.

Gospel – LK 5:17-26

One day as Jesus was teaching,
Pharisees and teachers of the law,
who had come from every village of Galilee and Judea and Jerusalem,
were sitting there,
and the power of the Lord was with him for healing.
And some men brought on a stretcher a man who was paralyzed;
they were trying to bring him in and set him in his presence.
But not finding a way to bring him in because of the crowd,
they went up on the roof
and lowered him on the stretcher through the tiles
into the middle in front of Jesus.
When Jesus saw their faith, he said,
“As for you, your sins are forgiven.”

Then the scribes and Pharisees began to ask themselves,
“Who is this who speaks blasphemies?
Who but God alone can forgive sins?”
Jesus knew their thoughts and said to them in reply,
“What are you thinking in your hearts?
Which is easier, to say, ‘Your sins are forgiven,’
or to say, ‘Rise and walk’?
But that you may know
that the Son of Man has authority on earth to forgive sins”–
he said to the one who was paralyzed,
“I say to you, rise, pick up your stretcher, and go home.”

He stood up immediately before them,
picked up what he had been lying on,
and went home, glorifying God.
Then astonishment seized them all and they glorified God,
and, struck with awe, they said,
“We have seen incredible things today.”

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December 7, 2020 – Memorial of Saint Ambrose, bishop and doctor of the Church


For the readings on the Memorial of Saint Ambrose, please go here.

Memorial of Saint Ambrose, bishop and doctor of the Church
Lectionary: 688

Reading 1 – EPH 3:8-12

Brothers and sisters:
To me, the very least of all the holy ones, this grace was given,
to preach to the Gentiles the inscrutable riches of Christ,
and to bring to light for all what is the plan of the mystery
hidden from ages past in God who created all things,
so that the manifold wisdom of God
might now be made known through the Church
to the principalities and authorities in the heavens.
This was according to the eternal purpose
that he accomplished in Christ Jesus our Lord,
in whom we have boldness of speech
and confidence of access through faith in him.

Responsorial Psalm – PS 89:2-3, 4-5, 21-22, 25 AND 27

R.     Forever I will sing the goodness of the Lord.
The favors of the LORD I will sing forever;
through all generations my mouth shall proclaim your faithfulness.
For you have said, “My kindness is established forever”;
in heaven you have confirmed your faithfulness.
R.    Forever I will sing the goodness of the Lord.
“I have made a covenant with my chosen one,
I have sworn to David my servant:
Forever will I confirm your posterity
and establish your throne for all generations.”
R.    Forever I will sing the goodness of the Lord.
“I have found David, my servant;
with my holy oil I have anointed him,
That my hand may be always with him,
and that my arm may make him strong.”
R.    Forever I will sing the goodness of the Lord.
“My faithfulness and my mercy shall be with him,
and through my name shall his horn be exalted.
He shall say of me, ‘You are my father,
my God, the rock, my savior.'”
R.    Forever I will sing the goodness of the Lord.

Alleluia – JN 10:14

R.    Alleluia, alleluia.
I am the good shepherd, says the Lord;
I know my sheep, and mine know me.
R.    Alleluia, alleluia.

Gospel – JN 10:11-16

Jesus said:
“I am the good shepherd.
A good shepherd lays down his life for the sheep.
A hired man, who is not a shepherd
and whose sheep are not his own,
sees a wolf coming and leaves the sheep and runs away,
and the wolf catches and scatters them.
This is because he works for pay and has no concern for the sheep.
I am the good shepherd,
and I know mine and mine know me,
just as the Father knows me and I know the Father;
and I will lay down my life for the sheep.
I have other sheep that do not belong to this fold.
These also I must lead, and they will hear my voice,
and there will be one flock, one shepherd.”

Saint Ambrose, Bishop and Doctor
c. 337–397

A mighty bishop guides Augustine, admonishes an emperor, and leads his people

If the noble Saint Ambrose had brought Saint Augustine into the Church and done nothing else besides, he would have done enough. Augustine’s conversion was a slow boil. He was ripe for baptism when providence placed him and his mother, Monica, in Ambrose’s orbit. In baptising Augustine, Ambrose harvested what the Holy Spirit had long cultivated. But Ambrose could be a mentor only because he had previously lived his own Christian drama, and because he was supremely prepared for leadership.

Ambrose was a high-born Roman, educated in the refined classical tradition of his age. He is perfectly emblematic of so many scholar-bishops of the fourth and fifth centuries who witnessed Rome’s slow fade and the subsequent Christian dawn. Christ first rose like the sun over Rome’s ruined pagan temples in Ambrose’s own lifetime. Ambrose’s father was the governor of Gaul, and the family was well connected to fellow elites. Ambrose studied Latin, Greek, rhetoric, law, and the classics in Rome. He was a patrician but also a Christian, albeit unbaptized. At a young age he was noticed by powerful mentors who recommended him for crucial civil posts, and when only thirty years old Ambrose was appointed governor of two Northern Italian provinces. He was living in Milan, where the capital had migrated from Rome decades before, when his great moment came. And it is in Milan where Saint Ambrose is especially revered even today.

In 374 the Arian bishop of Milan died, leading to conflicts over whether his successor would be an Arian or an orthodox Catholic. Ambrose was a well-known and well-liked political figure who hovered in the Emperor’s court, so he was sent to pacify the crowds in the church where the contentious episcopal election was to occur. When he spoke to the faithful about the need for a peaceful election, they called out “Ambrose for bishop.” He was stunned, refused the honor, and went into hiding. He eventually ceded to the demands of both the region’s bishops and the Emperor and accepted the position. Ambrose was baptized, ordained into Holy Orders, and consecrated Bishop of Milan, where he would spend the rest of his days. Ambrose’s asceticism and generosity increased his popularity. Augustine wrote that “great personages held him in honor.” This widespread esteem gave Ambrose a powerful voice with the emperor, whom he famously called to repentance after Roman soldiers committed a wanton massacre in Thessalonica. He also convinced the emperor, in lofty, elegant terms, to forswear support for pagan altars.

Saint Ambrose came late to the study of theology, but his scholarly training enabled him to master it quickly. He wrote works deftly refuting Arianism, others expounding on the true nature of Christ and the Holy Spirit, and still others on the Sacraments, virginity, ethics, Sacred Scripture, penance, and the duties of the clergy. Although not as original a thinker as Augustine or Basil, Ambrose was the very model of an educated, teaching, preaching, active, governing bishop with a pastoral heart. In his Confessions, Augustine relates how he asked Ambrose about Rome’s and Milan’s different days of fasting. Ambrose responded “When I am at Rome, I fast on a Saturday; when I am at Milan, I do not. Follow the custom of the church where you are.” This sage advice may be the source of the adage “When in Rome, do as the Romans.” Ambrose may also have been the first to promote antiphonal chant, in which each side of a church or choir takes turns in singing a text.  After twenty-two consequential years as a bishop involved in the highest matters of Church and Empire, and while in his mid-fifties, Bishop Ambrose died in Milan, where his remains are still venerated in a church dedicated to his honor.

Saint Ambrose, your education, courage, and teaching became a model for bishops for many centuries. Help all bishops to have bleeding hearts, iron wills, and razor sharp minds so that they can lead the faithful as successfully as you did.

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December 6, 2020


Second Sunday of Advent
Lectionary: 5

Reading 1 – IS 40:1-5, 9-11

Comfort, give comfort to my people,
says your God.
Speak tenderly to Jerusalem, and proclaim to her
that her service is at an end,
her guilt is expiated;
indeed, she has received from the hand of the LORD
double for all her sins.

A voice cries out:
In the desert prepare the way of the LORD!
Make straight in the wasteland a highway for our God!
Every valley shall be filled in,
every mountain and hill shall be made low;
the rugged land shall be made a plain,
the rough country, a broad valley.
Then the glory of the LORD shall be revealed,
and all people shall see it together;
for the mouth of the LORD has spoken.

Go up on to a high mountain,
Zion, herald of glad tidings;
cry out at the top of your voice,
Jerusalem, herald of good news!
Fear not to cry out
and say to the cities of Judah:
Here is your God!
Here comes with power
the Lord GOD,
who rules by his strong arm;
here is his reward with him,
his recompense before him.
Like a shepherd he feeds his flock;
in his arms he gathers the lambs,
carrying them in his bosom,
and leading the ewes with care.

Responsorial Psalm – PS 85:9-10-11-12, 13-14

R. (8) Lord, let us see your kindness, and grant us your salvation.
I will hear what God proclaims;
the LORD—for he proclaims peace to his people.
Near indeed is his salvation to those who fear him,
glory dwelling in our land.
R. Lord, let us see your kindness, and grant us your salvation.
Kindness and truth shall meet;
justice and peace shall kiss.
Truth shall spring out of the earth,
and justice shall look down from heaven.
R. Lord, let us see your kindness, and grant us your salvation.
The LORD himself will give his benefits;
our land shall yield its increase.
Justice shall walk before him,
and prepare the way of his steps.
R. Lord, let us see your kindness, and grant us your salvation.

Reading 2 – 2 PT 3:8-14

Do not ignore this one fact, beloved,
that with the Lord one day is like a thousand years
and a thousand years like one day.
The Lord does not delay his promise, as some regard “delay,”
but he is patient with you,
not wishing that any should perish
but that all should come to repentance.
But the day of the Lord will come like a thief,
and then the heavens will pass away with a mighty roar
and the elements will be dissolved by fire,
and the earth and everything done on it will be found out.

Since everything is to be dissolved in this way,
what sort of persons ought you to be,
conducting yourselves in holiness and devotion,
waiting for and hastening the coming of the day of God,
because of which the heavens will be dissolved in flames
and the elements melted by fire.
But according to his promise
we await new heavens and a new earth
in which righteousness dwells.
Therefore, beloved, since you await these things,
be eager to be found without spot or blemish before him, at peace.

Alleluia – LK 3:4, 6

R. Alleluia, alleluia.
Prepare the way of the Lord, make straight his paths:
All flesh shall see the salvation of God.
R. Alleluia, alleluia.

Gospel – MK 1:1-8

The beginning of the gospel of Jesus Christ the Son of God.

As it is written in Isaiah the prophet:
Behold, I am sending my messenger ahead of you;
he will prepare your way.

A voice of one crying out in the desert:
“Prepare the way of the Lord,
make straight his paths.”

John the Baptist appeared in the desert
proclaiming a baptism of repentance for the forgiveness of sins.
People of the whole Judean countryside
and all the inhabitants of Jerusalem
were going out to him
and were being baptized by him in the Jordan River
as they acknowledged their sins.
John was clothed in camel’s hair,
with a leather belt around his waist.
He fed on locusts and wild honey.
And this is what he proclaimed:
“One mightier than I is coming after me.
I am not worthy to stoop and loosen the thongs of his sandals.
I have baptized you with water;
he will baptize you with the Holy Spirit.”

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December 5, 2020


Sunday Vigil Mass

Saturday of the First Week of Advent
Lectionary: 180

Reading 1 – IS 30:19-21, 23-26

Thus says the Lord GOD,
the Holy One of Israel:
O people of Zion, who dwell in Jerusalem,
no more will you weep;
He will be gracious to you when you cry out,
as soon as he hears he will answer you.
The Lord will give you the bread you need
and the water for which you thirst.
No longer will your Teacher hide himself,
but with your own eyes you shall see your Teacher,
While from behind, a voice shall sound in your ears:
“This is the way; walk in it,”
when you would turn to the right or to the left.

He will give rain for the seed
that you sow in the ground,
And the wheat that the soil produces
will be rich and abundant.
On that day your flock will be given pasture
and the lamb will graze in spacious meadows;
The oxen and the asses that till the ground
will eat silage tossed to them
with shovel and pitchfork.
Upon every high mountain and lofty hill
there will be streams of running water.
On the day of the great slaughter,
when the towers fall,
The light of the moon will be like that of the sun
and the light of the sun will be seven times greater
like the light of seven days.
On the day the LORD binds up the wounds of his people,
he will heal the bruises left by his blows.

Responsorial Psalm – 147:1-2, 3-4, 5-6

R.    (see Isaiah 30:18D)  Blessed are all who wait for the Lord.
Praise the LORD, for he is good;
sing praise to our God, for he is gracious;
it is fitting to praise him.
The LORD rebuilds Jerusalem;
the dispersed of Israel he gathers.
R.    Blessed are all who wait for the Lord.
He heals the brokenhearted
and binds up their wounds.
He tells the number of the stars;
he calls each by name.
R.    Blessed are all who wait for the Lord.
Great is our LORD and mighty in power:
to his wisdom there is no limit.
The LORD sustains the lowly;
the wicked he casts to the ground.
R.    Blessed are all who wait for the Lord.

Alleluia – IS 33:22

R. Alleluia, alleluia.
The LORD is our Judge, our Lawgiver, our King;
he it is who will save us.
R. Alleluia, alleluia.

Gospel – MT 9:35–10:1, 5A, 6-8

Jesus went around to all the towns and villages,
teaching in their synagogues,
proclaiming the Gospel of the Kingdom,
and curing every disease and illness.
At the sight of the crowds, his heart was moved with pity for them
because they were troubled and abandoned,
like sheep without a shepherd.
Then he said to his disciples,
“The harvest is abundant but the laborers are few;
so ask the master of the harvest
to send out laborers for his harvest.”

Then he summoned his Twelve disciples
and gave them authority over unclean spirits to drive them out
and to cure every disease and every illness.

Jesus sent out these Twelve after instructing them thus,
“Go to the lost sheep of the house of Israel.
As you go, make this proclamation: ‘The Kingdom of heaven is at hand.’
Cure the sick, raise the dead,
cleanse lepers, drive out demons.
Without cost you have received; without cost you are to give.”

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December 4, 2020


For the readings of the Optional Memorial of Saint John of Damascus, please go here.

Friday of the First Week of Advent
Lectionary: 179

Reading 1 – IS 29:17-24

Thus says the Lord GOD:
But a very little while,
and Lebanon shall be changed into an orchard,
and the orchard be regarded as a forest!
On that day the deaf shall hear
the words of a book;
And out of gloom and darkness,
the eyes of the blind shall see.
The lowly will ever find joy in the LORD,
and the poor rejoice in the Holy One of Israel.
For the tyrant will be no more
and the arrogant will have gone;
All who are alert to do evil will be cut off,
those whose mere word condemns a man,
Who ensnare his defender at the gate,
and leave the just man with an empty claim.
Therefore thus says the LORD,
the God of the house of Jacob,
who redeemed Abraham:
Now Jacob shall have nothing to be ashamed of,
nor shall his face grow pale.
When his children see
the work of my hands in his midst,
They shall keep my name holy;
they shall reverence the Holy One of Jacob,
and be in awe of the God of Israel.
Those who err in spirit shall acquire understanding,
and those who find fault shall receive instruction.

Responsorial Psalm – 27:1, 4, 13-14

R.    (1A)  The Lord is my light and my salvation.
The LORD is my light and my salvation;
whom should I fear?
The LORD is my life’s refuge;
 of whom should I be afraid?
R.    The Lord is my light and my salvation.
One thing I ask of the LORD;
this I seek:
To dwell in the house of the LORD
all the days of my life,
That I may gaze on the loveliness of the LORD
and contemplate his temple.
R.    The Lord is my light and my salvation.
I believe that I shall see the bounty of the LORD
in the land of the living.
Wait for the LORD with courage;
be stouthearted, and wait for the LORD.
R.    The Lord is my light and my salvation.

Alleluia

R. Alleluia, alleluia.
Behold, our Lord shall come with power;
he will enlighten the eyes of his servants.
R. Alleluia, alleluia.

Gospel – MT 9:27-31

As Jesus passed by, two blind men followed him, crying out,
“Son of David, have pity on us!”
When he entered the house,
the blind men approached him and Jesus said to them,
“Do you believe that I can do this?”
“Yes, Lord,” they said to him.
Then he touched their eyes and said,
“Let it be done for you according to your faith.”
And their eyes were opened.
Jesus warned them sternly,
“See that no one knows about this.”
But they went out and spread word of him through all that land.

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December 4, 2020 – Memorial of Saint John of Damascus, priest, religious, doctor of the Church


For the readings on Friday of the First Week of Advent, please go here.

Optional Memorial of Saint John of Damascus, priest, religious, doctor of the Church
Lectionary: 686

Reading 1 – 2 TM 1:13-14; 2:1-3

Beloved:
Take as your norm the sound words that you heard from me,
in the faith and love that are in Christ Jesus.
Guard this rich trust with the help of the Holy Spirit
that dwells within us.

My child, be strong in the grace that is in Christ Jesus.
And what you heard from me through many witnesses
entrust to faithful people
who will have the ability to teach others as well.
Bear your share of hardship along with me
like a good soldier of Christ Jesus.

Responsorial Psalm – Ps 19:8, 9, 10, 11

R.    (10)  The judgments of the Lord are true, and all of them are just.
or:
R.    (John 6:63) Your words, Lord, are Spirit and life.
The law of the LORD is perfect,
refreshing the soul;
The decree of the LORD is trustworthy,
giving wisdom to the simple.
R.    The judgments of the Lord are true, and all of them are just.
or:
R.    Your words, Lord, are Spirit and life.
The precepts of the LORD are right,
rejoicing the heart;
The command of the LORD is clear,
enlightening the eye.
R.    The judgments of the Lord are true, and all of them are just.
or:
R.    Your words, Lord, are Spirit and life.
The fear of the LORD is pure,
enduring forever;
The ordinances of the LORD are true,
all of them just.
R.    The judgments of the Lord are true, and all of them are just.
or:
R.    Your words, Lord, are Spirit and life.
They are more precious than gold,
than a heap of purest gold;
Sweeter also than syrup
or honey from the comb.
R.    The judgments of the Lord are true, and all of them are just.
or:
R.    Your words, Lord, are Spirit and life.

Alleluia – JN 14:23

R.    Alleluia, alleluia.
All who love me will keep my words,
and my Father will love them,
and we will come to them.
R.    Alleluia, alleluia.

Gospel – MT 25:14-30

Jesus told his disciples this parable:
“A man going on a journey
called in his servants and entrusted his possessions to them.
To one he gave five talents; to another, two; to a third, oneB
to each according to his ability.
Then he went away.
Immediately the one who received five talents went and traded with them,
and made another five.
Likewise, the one who received two made another two.
But the man who received one went off and dug a hole in the ground
and buried his master’s money.
After a long time
the master of those servants came back
and settled accounts with them.
The one who had received five talents
came forward bringing the additional five.
He said, ‘Master, you gave me five talents.
See, I have made five more.’
His master said to him, ‘Well done, my good and faithful servant.
Since you were faithful in small matters,
I will give you great responsibilities.
Come, share your master’s joy.’
Then the one who had received two talents also came forward and said,
‘Master, you gave me two talents.
See, I have made two more.’
His master said to him, ‘Well done, my good and faithful servant.
Since you were faithful in small matters,
I will give you great responsibilities.
Come, share your master’s joy.’
Then the one who had received the one talent came forward and said,
‘Master, I knew you were a demanding person,
harvesting where you did not plant
and gathering where you did not scatter;
so out of fear I went off and buried your talent in the ground.
Here it is back.’
His master said to him in reply, ‘You wicked, lazy servant!
So you knew that I harvest where I did not plant
and gather where I did not scatter?
Should you not then have put my money in the bank
so that I could have got it back with interest on my return?
Now then!  Take the talent from him and give it to the one with ten.
For to everyone who has, more will be given and he will grow rich;
but from the one who has not, even what he has will be taken away.
And throw this useless servant into the darkness outside,
where there will be wailing and grinding of teeth.'”

Or – MT 25:14-23

Jesus told his disciples this parable:
“A man going on a journey
called in his servants and entrusted his possessions to them.
To one he gave five talents; to another, two; to a third, oneB
to each according to his ability.
Then he went away.
Immediately the one who received five talents went and traded with them,
and made another five.
Likewise, the one who received two made another two.
But the man who received one went off and dug a hole in the ground
and buried his master’s money.
After a long time
the master of those servants came back
and settled accounts with them.
The one who had received five talents
came forward bringing the additional five.
He said, ‘Master, you gave me five talents.
See, I have made five more.’
His master said to him, ‘Well done, my good and faithful servant.
Since you were faithful in small matters,
I will give you great responsibilities.
Come, share your master’s joy.’
Then the one who had received two talents also came forward and said,
‘Master, you gave me two talents.
See, I have made two more.’
His master said to him, ‘Well done, my good and faithful servant.
Since you were faithful in small matters,
I will give you great responsibilities.
Come, share your master’s joy.'”

Saint John Damascene, Priest and Doctor
c. 674–749

A monk defends images from Christian attack while living in a Muslim land

“Christ…did not save us by paintings,” a Synod of Bishops declared in Paris in 825. God, it could be added, did not become an icon. He became a man, and so sanctified creation itself, not just art. In the eighth century, a raging debate, even violence, over the role of images in Christianity tore at the fabric of the undivided Church. The deep wounds inflicted in the body of Christ by the iconoclastic controversy took decades to close. Today’s saint helped the healing start. John of Damascene explained in clear, deep, and evocative language the theological significance of venerating images. He thus helped bishops, emperors, and popes to think their way out of the controversy. For his learned defense of images, Saint John Damascene was declared a Doctor of the Church centuries later, in 1890. Ironically, John’s brave defense of icons was possible because he lived behind the Muslim curtain, in Syria. He lived beyond the reach of the long arm of Constantinople, a city whose emperors opposed icons partly to appease their new and violent geopolitical neighbors, the Muslims, whose mosques were adorned with geometric patterns, not faces and bodies.

John of Damascus (or Damascene) is known primarily through his writings. The details of his life are few. When his native Syria was overrun in the 630s by a new, martial religion that blew like the wind out of Saudi Arabia, John’s family served in the local caliph’s administration. The Muslim conquest was facilitated by the local population of subjugated, but educated, Christians and Jews who were conquered but not displaced. They carried out the everyday tasks of empire building of which the illiterate horsemen of the desert knew nothing. John and his family were part of this large administrative class of Arabic non-Muslims. Our saint, then, personally lived the epochal transition of Syria from a Constantinople-focused Christian culture to a Mecca-facing Muslim one.

After receiving a complete education from a captive Catholic priest, John abandoned his secular career while a young adult and entered a monastery near Jerusalem to become a priest and monk. The rest of his life was dedicated to his own personal perfection and to theological and literary pursuits. Islam’s prohibition of images forced Christian theologians to defend and explain something that had never before been challenged—the ubiquitous Christian use, in both public and private, of icons, statues, medals, crucifixes, and other forms of art. John was the first to distinguish between the worship rendered to God alone and the veneration given to images and those they represent. John noted that the saint is not the paint on the wood any more than Jesus is the ink on the page of the Gospel. Such distinctions were needed to respond to both Islam and to the Old Testament strictures against the use of images, an exception to which was found, in any case, in the God-sanctioned adornments on the Ark of the Covenant.

John Damascene argued that when God took flesh He ended the era of the misty, faceless God. Because God chose to be visible, the Christian can venerate the Creator of matter who became matter for man’s sake. Salvation was achieved via created matter, so we venerate that matter not absolutely, but contingently. Did not Christ hang on the wood of the cross? Did He not consecrate bread and wine? Was He not baptized in water? The matter of which images are made comes from God Himself and thus shares in His goodness. Even the Sacraments make use of the elements of creation to become vehicles of God’s grace. John’s ideas won the day, long after his death, at the Second Council of Nicea in 787, which condemned iconoclasm. From that point until the rise of Protestantism, art was correctly understood in Western culture as an extended celebration of the Incarnation. When we gaze in wonder at the mellow glow of stained glass, marvel at the smooth serenity of the face of Mary in Michelangelo’s Pietà, or wonder at the explosion of the baroque in an Italian church, we should whisper thanks to today’s saint for saving the day just when it needed to be saved.

Saint John Damascene, you studied and wrote so that the illiterate of your time could “read” icons and so know and love the Lord by just looking at Him, His mother, and His saints. Help all catechists to use their education to defend the faith of those unable to explain it to themselves.

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December 3, 2020


For the readings of the Memorial of Saint Francis Xavier, please go here.

Memorial of Saint Francis Xavier, Priest
Lectionary: 178

Reading 1 – IS 26:1-6

On that day they will sing this song in the land of Judah:

“A strong city have we;
he sets up walls and ramparts to protect us.
Open up the gates
to let in a nation that is just,
one that keeps faith.
A nation of firm purpose you keep in peace;
in peace, for its trust in you.”

Trust in the LORD forever!
For the LORD is an eternal Rock.
He humbles those in high places,
and the lofty city he brings down;
He tumbles it to the ground,
levels it with the dust.
It is trampled underfoot by the needy,
by the footsteps of the poor.

Responsorial Psalm – 118:1 AND 8-9, 19-21, 25-27A

R.    (26A)  Blessed is he who comes in the name of the Lord.
or:
R.    Alleluia.
Give thanks to the LORD, for he is good,
for his mercy endures forever.
It is better to take refuge in the LORD
than to trust in man.
It is better to take refuge in the LORD
than to trust in princes.
R.    Blessed is he who comes in the name of the Lord.
or:
R.    Alleluia.
Open to me the gates of justice;
 I will enter them and give thanks to the LORD.
This gate is the LORD’s;
 the just shall enter it.
I will give thanks to you, for you have answered me
 and have been my savior.
R.    Blessed is he who comes in the name of the Lord.
or:
R.    Alleluia.
O LORD, grant salvation!
O LORD, grant prosperity!
Blessed is he who comes in the name of the LORD;
we bless you from the house of the LORD.
The LORD is God, and he has given us light.
R.    Blessed is he who comes in the name of the Lord.
or:
R.    Alleluia.

Alleluia – IS 55:6

R. Alleluia, alleluia.
Seek the LORD while he may be found;
call him while he is near.
R. Alleluia, alleluia.

Gospel – MT 7:21, 24-27

Jesus said to his disciples:
“Not everyone who says to me, ‘Lord, Lord,’
will enter the Kingdom of heaven,
but only the one who does the will of my Father in heaven.

“Everyone who listens to these words of mine and acts on them
will be like a wise man who built his house on rock.
The rain fell, the floods came,
and the winds blew and buffeted the house.
But it did not collapse; it had been set solidly on rock.
And everyone who listens to these words of mine
but does not act on them
will be like a fool who built his house on sand.
The rain fell, the floods came,
and the winds blew and buffeted the house.
And it collapsed and was completely ruined.”

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December 3, 2020 – Memorial of Saint Francis Xavier, priest


For the readings on the Memorial of Saint Francis Xavier, please go here.

Memorial of Saint Francis Xavier, priest
Lectionary: 685

Reading 1 – 1 COR 9:16-19, 22-23

Brothers and sisters:
If I preach the Gospel, this is no reason for me to boast,
for an obligation has been imposed on me,
and woe to me if I do not preach it!
If I do so willingly, I have a recompense,
but if unwillingly, then I have been entrusted with a stewardship.
What then is my recompense?
That, when I preach,
I offer the Gospel free of charge
so as not to make full use of my right in the Gospel.
Although I am free in regard to all,
I have made myself a slave to all
so as to win over as many as possible.
To the weak I became weak, to win over the weak.
I have become all things to all, to save at least some.
All this I do for the sake of the Gospel,
so that I too may have a share in it.

Responsorial Psalm – PS 117:1BC, 2

R.    (Mark 16:15)  Go out to all the world and tell the Good News.
Praise the LORD, all you nations;
glorify him, all you peoples!
R.    Go out to all the world and tell the Good News.
For steadfast is his kindness toward us,
and the fidelity of the LORD endures forever.
R.    Go out to all the world and tell the Good News.

Alleluia – MT 28:19A, 20B

R.    Alleluia, alleluia.
Go and teach all nations, says the Lord;
I am with you always, until the end of the world.
R.    Alleluia, alleluia.

Gospel – MK 16:15-20

Jesus appeared to the Eleven and said to them:
“Go into the whole world
and proclaim the Gospel to every creature.
Whoever believes and is baptized will be saved;
whoever does not believe will be condemned.
These signs will accompany those who believe:
in my name they will drive out demons,
they will speak new languages.
They will pick up serpents with their hands,
and if they drink any deadly thing, it will not harm them.
They will lay hands on the sick, and they will recover.”

So the Lord Jesus, after he spoke to them,
was taken up into heaven
and took his seat at the right hand of God.
But they went forth and preached everywhere,
while the Lord worked with them
and confirmed the word through accompanying signs.

Saint Francis Xavier, Priest
1506-1552

An iconic missionary blazes a path for Christ in India and Japan

Today’s great missionary knelt on the floor next to Saint Ignatius Loyola and five other men in a church on Montmartre overlooking Paris in 1534 and took private vows of poverty, chastity, and obedience to the Pope. It was the start of the Jesuits. Francis Xavier would be ordained a priest three years later in Venice and, in 1540, would sail from Lisbon, Portugal, to India, never to return.  The thirteen-month sea journey was brutal, but Francis was as tough as bark. He held his own with all the sailors, slaves, and criminals on board who were seeking to start anew for reasons noble and otherwise. When Francis arrived in Goa, India, he and his two confreres found a Portuguese settlement about thirty years old. As was sadly typical, the greatest hindrance to the success of Spanish, Portuguese, and French missionaries was their own countrymen. Slave traders, merchants, pirates, nobles, and crown officials gave a contrary Christian witness, which undercut the priests’ own teaching and example. It was said that when the Portuguese whipped their servants, they counted the lashes on their rosary beads.

Francis’ first goal was to evangelize the settlers. He preached, taught, heard confessions, and encouraged the Portuguese to live their baptismal faith if they harbored any hope of winning India for Christ. After working among his own for a few years establishing the basic structures of an organized church, including a seminary, Francis went on the first of his incessant voyages, the sub-missions inside of his greater mission to Asia. Among the people of the islands near modern-day Sri Lanka, Francis slept on the dirt like they did. He ate rice and drank water like they did. He put the Our Father and Hail Mary to music and so made these prayers easier to remember. He became a father to a humble people and baptized so many thousands that helpers had to hold up his arm to continue his sacramental work. That very arm is found today in a reliquary in the Jesuit’s mother church in Rome, the Gesù, near the tomb of Saint Ignatius Loyola.

Francis used Goa as his base as he departed on one missionary journey after another among the islands off of Southeast Asia. He wrote letters to Ignatius and to the King of Portugal describing his labors and plans, bemoaning the lack of priests and the unethical behavior of his fellow Europeans. On one journey, he heard of an archipelago that no European had yet entered. It was Japan. Francis started to plan and, in 1549, he was the first missionary to plant his foot into the soil of the Land of the Rising Sun. The work was difficult. As so many Europeans noted, Japanese culture was fundamentally unlike other Asian cultures. The Japanese were intellectually sophisticated, sensitive to slights, honorable, open to reason, and naturally inquisitive. But the language was impenetrable, the leaders often hostile, and the monks welcoming only until they realized that Francis’ religion was a rival to their own. An expert missionary, Francis had to create a neologism adapted from Latin—Deusu—to convey the Christian concept of the word God. No equivalent existed in Japanese.

After little visible success in Japan, Francis had further adventures on land and sea before he embarked on a plan to enter the vast and forbidden territory of China. But it was not to be. On December 2, 1552, Francis Xavier died of fever at the age of forty-six on a small island a few miles distant from the shores of mainland China. Like Moses, he died seeing the promised land but never entered it. Francis was buried in a shallow grave in the sand as four people looked on. His body was covered with lime in case anyone wanted to recover it later. They did. This Apostle to the Indies and Japan was canonized in 1622 and is considered the Church’s greatest missionary after Saint Paul. His body is largely incorrupt and rests in a glass coffin in a church in Goa, India.

Saint Francis Xavier, your indefatigable journeying to spread the Gospel inspired generations of missionaries. May your legacy of generosity and vigor continue in us as we convert others through our own witness of virtue, work, and charity for all.

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December 2, 2020


Wednesday of the First Week of Advent
Lectionary: 177

Reading 1 – IS 25:6-10A

On this mountain the LORD of hosts
will provide for all peoples
A feast of rich food and choice wines,
juicy, rich food and pure, choice wines.
On this mountain he will destroy
the veil that veils all peoples,
The web that is woven over all nations;
he will destroy death forever.
The Lord GOD will wipe away
the tears from all faces;
The reproach of his people he will remove
from the whole earth; for the LORD has spoken.

On that day it will be said:
“Behold our God, to whom we looked to save us!
This is the LORD for whom we looked;
let us rejoice and be glad that he has saved us!”
For the hand of the LORD will rest on this mountain.

Responsorial Psalm – 23:1-3A, 3B-4, 5, 6

R.    (6CD) I shall live in the house of the Lord all the days of my life.
The LORD is my shepherd; I shall not want.
In verdant pastures he gives me repose;
Beside restful waters he leads me;
he refreshes my soul.
R.    I shall live in the house of the Lord all the days of my life.
He guides me in right paths
for his name’s sake.
Even though I walk in the dark valley
I fear no evil; for you are at my side
With your rod and your staff
that give me courage.
R.    I shall live in the house of the Lord all the days of my life.
You spread the table before me
in the sight of my foes;
You anoint my head with oil;
my cup overflows.
R.    I shall live in the house of the Lord all the days of my life.
Only goodness and kindness follow me
all the days of my life;
And I shall dwell in the house of the LORD
for years to come.
R.    I shall live in the house of the Lord all the days of my life.

Alleluia

R. Alleluia, alleluia.
Behold, the Lord comes to save his people;
blessed are those prepared to meet him.
R. Alleluia, alleluia.

Gospel – MT 15:29-37

At that time:
Jesus walked by the Sea of Galilee,
went up on the mountain, and sat down there.
Great crowds came to him,
having with them the lame, the blind, the deformed, the mute,
and many others.
They placed them at his feet, and he cured them.
The crowds were amazed when they saw the mute speaking,
the deformed made whole,
the lame walking,
and the blind able to see,
and they glorified the God of Israel.

Jesus summoned his disciples and said,
“My heart is moved with pity for the crowd,
for they have been with me now for three days
and have nothing to eat.
I do not want to send them away hungry,
for fear they may collapse on the way.”
The disciples said to him,
“Where could we ever get enough bread in this deserted place
to satisfy such a crowd?”
Jesus said to them, “How many loaves do you have?”
“Seven,” they replied, “and a few fish.”
He ordered the crowd to sit down on the ground.
Then he took the seven loaves and the fish,
gave thanks, broke the loaves,
and gave them to the disciples, who in turn gave them to the crowds.
They all ate and were satisfied.
They picked up the fragments left over–seven baskets full.

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December 1, 2020


Tuesday of the first Week of Advent
Lectionary: 176

Reading 1 – IS 11:1-10

On that day,
A shoot shall sprout from the stump of Jesse,
and from his roots a bud shall blossom.
The Spirit of the LORD shall rest upon him:
a Spirit of wisdom and of understanding,
A Spirit of counsel and of strength,
a Spirit of knowledge and of fear of the LORD,
and his delight shall be the fear of the LORD.
Not by appearance shall he judge,
nor by hearsay shall he decide,
But he shall judge the poor with justice,
and decide aright for the land’s afflicted.
He shall strike the ruthless with the rod of his mouth,
and with the breath of his lips he shall slay the wicked.
Justice shall be the band around his waist,
and faithfulness a belt upon his hips.

Then the wolf shall be a guest of the lamb,
and the leopard shall lie down with the kid;
The calf and the young lion shall browse together,
with a little child to guide them.
The cow and the bear shall be neighbors,
together their young shall rest;
the lion shall eat hay like the ox.
The baby shall play by the cobra’s den,
and the child lay his hand on the adder’s lair.
There shall be no harm or ruin on all my holy mountain;
for the earth shall be filled with knowledge of the LORD,
as water covers the sea.

On that day,
The root of Jesse,
set up as a signal for the nations,
The Gentiles shall seek out,
for his dwelling shall be glorious.

Responsorial Psalm – 72:1-2, 7-8, 12-13, 17

R.    (see 7)  Justice shall flourish in his time, and fullness of peace for ever.
O God, with your judgment endow the king,
and with your justice, the king’s son;
He shall govern your people with justice
and your afflicted ones with judgment.
R.    Justice shall flourish in his time, and fullness of peace for ever.
Justice shall flower in his days,
and profound peace, till the moon be no more.
May he rule from sea to sea,
and from the River to the ends of the earth.
R.    Justice shall flourish in his time, and fullness of peace for ever.
He shall rescue the poor when he cries out,
and the afflicted when he has no one to help him.
He shall have pity for the lowly and the poor;
the lives of the poor he shall save.
R.    Justice shall flourish in his time, and fullness of peace for ever.
May his name be blessed forever;
as long as the sun his name shall remain.
In him shall all the tribes of the earth be blessed;
all the nations shall proclaim his happiness.
R.    Justice shall flourish in his time, and fullness of peace for ever.

Alleluia

R. Alleluia, alleluia.
Behold, our Lord shall come with power;
he will enlighten the eyes of his servants.
R. Alleluia, alleluia.

Gospel – LK 10:21-24

Jesus rejoiced in the Holy Spirit and said,
“I give you praise, Father, Lord of heaven and earth,
for although you have hidden these things
from the wise and the learned
you have revealed them to the childlike.
Yes, Father, such has been your gracious will.
All things have been handed over to me by my Father.
No one knows who the Son is except the Father,
and who the Father is except the Son
and anyone to whom the Son wishes to reveal him.”

Turning to the disciples in private he said,
“Blessed are the eyes that see what you see.
For I say to you,
many prophets and kings desired to see what you see,
but did not see it,
and to hear what you hear, but did not hear it.”

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