The Word of God

December 31, 2021


For the optional Readings for today’s Memorial, please go here.

The Seventh Day in the Octave of Christmas
Lectionary: 204

Reading I – 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 30, 2021


The Sixth Day in the Octave of Christmas
Lectionary: 203

Reading I – 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, 2021


For the readings suggested for today’s Memorial, please go here.

The Fifth Day in the Octave of Christmas
Lectionary: 202

Reading I – 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 28, 2021


Feast of the Holy Innocents, martyrs
Lectionary: 698

Reading I – 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

See 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, 2021


Feast of Saint John, Apostle and evangelist
Lectionary: 697

Reading I – 1 Jn 1:1-4

Beloved:
What was from the beginning,
what we have heard,
what we have seen with our eyes,
what we looked upon
and touched with our hands
concerns the Word of life —
for the life was made visible;
we have seen it and testify to it
and proclaim to you the eternal life
that was with the Father and was made visible to us— 
what we have seen and heard
we proclaim now to you,
so that you too may have fellowship with us;
for our fellowship is with the Father
and with his Son, Jesus Christ.
We are writing this so that our joy may be complete.

Responsorial Psalm – 97:1-2, 5-6, 11-12

R.    (12) Rejoice in the Lord, you just!
The LORD is king; let the earth rejoice;
    let the many isles be glad.
Clouds and darkness are around him,
    justice and judgment are the foundation of his throne.
R.    Rejoice in the Lord, you just!
The mountains melt like wax before the LORD,
    before the LORD of all the earth.
The heavens proclaim his justice,
    and all peoples see his glory.
R.    Rejoice in the Lord, you just!
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.    Rejoice in the Lord, you just!

Alleluia

See Te Deum

R. Alleluia, alleluia.
We praise you, O God,
we acclaim you as Lord;
the glorious company of Apostles praise you.
R. Alleluia, alleluia.

Gospel – Jn 20:1A and 2-8

On the first day of the week,
Mary Magdalene ran and went to Simon Peter
and to the other disciple whom Jesus loved, and told them,
“They have taken the Lord from the tomb,
and we do not know where they put him.”
So Peter and the other disciple went out and came to the tomb.
They both ran, but the other disciple ran faster than Peter
and arrived at the tomb first;
he bent down and saw the burial cloths there, but did not go in.
When Simon Peter arrived after him,
he went into the tomb and saw the burial cloths there,
and the cloth that had covered his head,
not with the burial cloths but rolled up in a separate place.
Then the other disciple also went in,
the one who had arrived at the tomb first,
and he saw and believed.

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December 26, 2021


Feast of the Holy Family of Jesus, Mary and Joseph
Lectionary: 17

Reading I – 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: 1 Sm 1:20-22, 24-28

In those days Hannah conceived, and at the end of her term bore a son
whom she called Samuel, since she had asked the LORD for him.
The next time her husband Elkanah was going up
with the rest of his household
to offer the customary sacrifice to the LORD and to fulfill his vows,
Hannah did not go, explaining to her husband,
“Once the child is weaned,
I will take him to appear before the LORD
and to remain there forever;
I will offer him as a perpetual nazirite.”

Once Samuel was weaned, Hannah brought him up 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.”
Hannah left Samuel there.

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 84:2-3, 5-6, 9-10.

R. (CF. 5A)  Blessed are they who dwell in your house, O Lord.
How lovely is your dwelling place, O LORD of hosts!
    My soul yearns and pines for the courts of the LORD.
My heart and my flesh cry out for the living God.
R. Blessed are they who dwell in your house, O Lord.
Happy they who dwell in your house!
    Continually they praise you.
Happy the men whose strength you are!
    Their hearts are set upon the pilgrimage.
R. Blessed are they who dwell in your house, O Lord.
O LORD of hosts, hear our prayer;
    hearken, O God of Jacob!
O God, behold our shield,
    and look upon the face of your anointed.
R. Blessed are they who dwell in your house, O Lord.

Reading II – Col 3:12-21 or 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.  

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:

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: 1 Jn 3:1-2, 21-24

Beloved:
See what love the Father has bestowed on us
that we may be called the children of God.
And so we are.
The reason the world does not know us
is that it did not know him.
Beloved, we are God’s children now;
what we shall be has not yet been revealed.
We do know that when it is revealed we shall be like him,
for we shall see him as he is.

Beloved, if our hearts do not condemn us,
we have confidence in God and receive from him whatever we ask,
because we keep his commandments and do what pleases him.
And his commandment is this:
we should believe in the name of his Son, Jesus Christ,
and love one another just as he commanded us.
Those who keep his commandments remain in him, and he in them,
and the way we know that he remains in us
is from the Spirit he gave us.

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: – Cf. Acts 16:14b

R. Alleluia, alleluia.
Open our hearts, O Lord,
to listen to the words of your Son.
R. Alleluia, alleluia.

Gospel – Lk 2:41-52

Each year Jesus’ parents went to Jerusalem for the feast
of Passover, 
and when he was twelve years old, 
they went up according to festival custom.
After they had completed its days, as they were returning, 
the boy Jesus remained behind in Jerusalem, 
but his parents did not know it.
Thinking that he was in the caravan,
they journeyed for a day
and looked for him among their relatives and acquaintances, 
but not finding him,
they returned to Jerusalem to look for him.
After three days they found him in the temple, 
sitting in the midst of the teachers, 
listening to them and asking them questions, 
and all who heard him were astounded 
at his understanding and his answers.
When his parents saw him,
they were astonished, 
and his mother said to him, 
“Son, why have you done this to us?
Your father and I have been looking for you with great anxiety.”
And he said to them,
“Why were you looking for me?
Did you not know that I must be in my Father’s house?”
But they did not understand what he said to them.
He went down with them and came to Nazareth,
and was obedient to them; 
and his mother kept all these things in her heart.
And Jesus advanced in wisdom and age and favor
before God and man.

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December 25, 2021


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

For the Readings for the Mass during the Night, please go here.

For the Readings for the Mass during the Day, please go here.

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

Reading I – 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)  For ever 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. For ever 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. For ever 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. For ever I will sing the goodness of the Lord.

Reading II – 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 – The Nativity of the Lord (Christmas) Mass during the Day


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

For the Readings for the Mass during the Night, please go here.

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

Lectionary: 16

Reading I – 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 II – 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 – The Nativity of the Lord (Christmas) Mass at Dawn


For the Readings for the Mass during the Night, please go here.

For the Readings for the Mass during the Day, please go here.

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

Lectionary: 15

Reading I – 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 II – 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 – The Nativity of the Lord (Christmas) Mass during the Night


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

For the Readings for the Mass during the Day, please go here.

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

Lectionary: 14

Reading I – 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 II – 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, 2021


Friday of the Fourth Week of Advent
Mass in the Morning

Lectionary: 200

Reading I – 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)  For ever 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.    For ever 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.    For ever 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.    For ever 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, 2021


For the optional Readings for today’s Memorial, please go here.

Thursday of the Fourth Week of Advent
Lectionary: 199

Reading I – 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 22, 2021


Wednesday of the Fourth Week of Advent
Lectionary: 198

Reading I – 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 for ever.”

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

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December 21, 2021


For the optional Readings for today’s Memorial, please go here.

Tuesday of the Fourth Week of Advent
Lectionary: 197

Reading I – 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 – Optional Memorial of Saint Peter Canisius, priest and doctor of the Church


For the Readings for the Tuesday of the Fourth Week of Advent, please go here.

Lectionary: 694

Below are the readings suggested for today’s Memorial. However, readings for the Memorial may also be taken from the Common of Pastors, #719-724, or the Common of Doctors of the Church, #725-730.

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.”

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December 20, 2021


Monday of the Fourth Week of Advent
Lectionary: 196

Reading I – Is 7:10-14

The LORD spoke to Ahaz:
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 men,
    must you also weary my God? 
Therefore the Lord himself will give you this sign:
    the virgin shall conceive and bear a son,
    and shall name him Emmanuel.

Responsorial Psalm – 24:1-2, 3-4AB, 5-6

R.    (see 7c and 10b) Let the Lord enter; he is the king of glory.
The LORD’s are the earth and its fullness;
    the world and those who dwell in it.
For he founded it upon the seas
    and established it upon the rivers.
R.    Let the Lord enter; he is the king of glory.
Who can ascend the mountain of the LORD?
    or who may stand in his holy place?
He whose hands are sinless, whose heart is clean,
    who desires not what is vain.
R.    Let the Lord enter; he is the king of glory.
He shall receive a blessing from the LORD,
    a reward from God his savior.
Such is the race that seeks for him,
    that seeks the face of the God of Jacob.
R.    Let the Lord enter; he is the king of glory.

Alleluia

R. Alleluia, alleluia.
O Key of David,
opening the gates of God’s eternal Kingdom:
come and free the prisoners of darkness!
R. Alleluia, alleluia.

Gospel – Lk 1:26-38

In the sixth month,
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, 2021


Fourth Sunday of Advent
Lectionary: 12

Reading I – Mi 5:1-4A

    Thus says the LORD:
    You, Bethlehem-Ephrathah
        too small to be among the clans of Judah,
    from you shall come forth for me
        one who is to be ruler in Israel;
    whose origin is from of old,
        from ancient times.
    Therefore the Lord will give them up, until the time
        when she who is to give birth has borne,
    and the rest of his kindred shall return
        to the children of Israel.
    He shall stand firm and shepherd his flock
        by the strength of the LORD,
        in the majestic name of the LORD, his God;
    and they shall remain, for now his greatness
        shall reach to the ends of the earth;
        he shall be peace.

Responsorial Psalm – Ps 80:2-3, 15-16, 18-19.

R. (4)  Lord, make us turn to you; let us see your face and we shall be saved.
O shepherd of Israel, hearken,
    from your throne upon the cherubim, shine forth.
Rouse your power,
    and come to save us.
R. Lord, make us turn to you; let us see your face and we shall be saved.
Once again, O LORD of hosts,
    look down from heaven, and see;
take care of this vine,
    and protect what your right hand has planted
the son of man whom you yourself made strong.
R. Lord, make us turn to you; let us see your face and we shall be saved.
May your help be with the man of your right hand,
    with the son of man whom you yourself made strong.
Then we will no more withdraw from you;
    give us new life, and we will call upon your name.
R. Lord, make us turn to you; let us see your face and we shall be saved.

Reading II – Heb 10:5-10

Brothers and sisters:
When Christ came into the world, he said:
    “Sacrifice and offering you did not desire,
        but a body you prepared for me;
    in holocausts and sin offerings you took no delight.
    Then I said, ‘As is written of me in the scroll,
    behold, I come to do your will, O God.’“

First he says, “Sacrifices and offerings,
holocausts and sin offerings, 
you neither desired nor delighted in.”
These are offered according to the law.
Then he says, :Behold, I come to do your will.”
He takes away the first to establish the second.
By this “will,”  we have been consecrated 
through the offering of the body of Jesus Christ once for all.

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 1:39-45

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, 
“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 18, 2021


Saturday of the Third Week of Advent
Lectionary: 194

Reading I – 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, 2021


Friday of the Third Week of Advent
Lectionary: 193

Reading I – 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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It’s In The Genes


Reflection on Mass Reading for December 17, 2021

Theme for December: “Christmas is built upon a beautiful and intentional paradox; that the birth of the homeless child should be celebrated in every home.” G. K. Chesterton

“Assemble and listen, sons of Jacob, listen to Israel, your father.” At very well-placed times of the year, especially around the dates that are most famous for the gatherings of families—like right now, you will see a literal cascade of advertisements concerning the discovery of one’s family roots through DNA testing. Commercials abound with different companies competing for curious dollars to discover where families originated and identify certain traits. Many believe they can learn significantly about where they are going by discovering where they are from. “In him shall all the tribes of the earth be blessed; all the nations shall proclaim his happiness.”

With just a week away from Christmas Eve, we have been generously served the Genealogy Account from the Gospel of St. Matthew that traces the lineage of Jesus back to Abraham: “The book of the genealogy of Jesus Christ, the son of David, the son of Abraham.” The importance of this moment is quite similar to the DNA searches that have grown into popularity in the last ten years or so. We want to know who Jesus is to understand why He came. When we realize why He came, we will embrace Him into our hearts and families like a newborn invigorating all of our lives with a freshness and transforming passage into a brand new year. We know where we are going because we know Who is leading us. And we know exactly His origins and final destiny are in Heaven.

“God walked down the stairs of heaven with a Baby in His arms.” Paul Scherer

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December 16, 2021


Thursday of the Third Week in Advent
Lectionary: 190

Reading I – Is 54:1-10

    Raise a glad cry, you barren one who did not bear,
        Break forth in jubilant song, you who were not in labor,
    For more numerous are the children of the deserted wife
        than the children of her who has a husband,
        says the Lord.
    Enlarge the space for your tent,
        spread out your tent cloths unsparingly;
        lengthen your ropes and make firm your stakes.
    For you shall spread abroad to the right and to the left;
        your descendants shall dispossess the nations
        and shall people the desolate cities.

    Fear not, you shall not be put to shame;
        you need not blush, for you shall not be disgraced.
    The shame of your youth you shall forget,
        the reproach of your widowhood no longer remember.
    For he who has become your husband is your Maker;
        his name is the Lord of hosts;
    Your redeemer is the Holy One of Israel,
        called God of all the earth.
    The Lord calls you back,
        like a wife forsaken and grieved in spirit,
    A wife married in youth and then cast off,
        says your God.
    For a brief moment I abandoned you,
        but with great tenderness I will take you back.
    In an outburst of wrath, for a moment
        I hid my face from you;
    But with enduring love I take pity on you,
        says the Lord, your redeemer.

    This is for me like the days of Noah,
        when I swore that the waters of Noah
        should never again deluge the earth;
    So I have sworn not to be angry with you,
        or to rebuke you.
    Though the mountains leave their place
        and the hills be shaken,
    My love shall never leave you
        nor my covenant of peace be shaken,
        says the Lord, who has mercy on you.

Responsorial Psalm – 30:2 and 4, 5-6, 11-12A and 13B

R.    (2a) I will praise you, Lord, for you have rescued me.
I will extol you, O Lord, for you drew me clear
    and did not let my enemies rejoice over me.
O Lord, you brought me up from the nether world;
    you preserved me from among those going down into the pit.
R.    I will praise you, Lord, for you have rescued me.
Sing praise to the Lord, you his faithful ones,
    and give thanks to his holy name.
For his anger lasts but a moment;
    a lifetime, his good will.
At nightfall, weeping enters in,
    but with the dawn, rejoicing.
R.    I will praise you, Lord, for you have rescued me.
“Hear, O Lord, and have pity on me;
    O Lord, be my helper.”
You changed my mourning into dancing;
    O Lord, my God, forever will I give you thanks.
R.    I will praise you, Lord, for you have rescued me.

Alleluia – Luke 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 – Lk 7:24-30

When the messengers of John the Baptist had left,
Jesus began to speak to the crowds about John. 
“What did you go out to the desert to see  a reed swayed by the wind? 
Then what did you go out to see? 
Someone dressed in fine garments? 
Those who dress luxuriously and live sumptuously
are found in royal palaces. 
Then what did you go out to see? 
A prophet? Yes, I tell you, and more than a prophet. 
This is the one about whom Scripture says:

    Behold, I am sending my messenger ahead of you,
    he will prepare your way before you.

I tell you,
among those born of women, no one is greater than John;
yet the least in the Kingdom of God is greater than he.”
(All the people who listened, including the tax collectors,
who were baptized with the baptism of John,
acknowledged the righteousness of God;
but the Pharisees and scholars of the law,
who were not baptized by him,
rejected the plan of God for themselves.)

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Expecting A Glowing Miracle


Reflection on Mass Reading for December 16, 2021

Theme for December: “Christmas is built upon a beautiful and intentional paradox; that the birth of the homeless child should be celebrated in every home.” G. K. Chesterton

“My love shall never leave you nor my covenant of peace be shaken, says the Lord, who has mercy on you.” Christmas is next week and as we all know from a little to a lot of experience, it will go fast. Whether we are in school, still working, retired, or managing a home, we will undoubtedly ask the question, “Where did all the time go?” And every year, the answer is the same: “Right before us as we busy doing other things!!” Right this minute, in this very moment, before we do anything else, let us please remember that Christmas is about love and hope and forgiveness and all the things that God wants to give us JUST FOR OUR HAPPINESS.

“Behold, I am sending my messenger ahead of you, he will prepare your way before you.” What has been clear ever since the Birth of Jesus is that God wants us all to have a most wonderful Christmas because of the hope that is ours. Messengers, Prophets, Saints, and Angels have led this celestial parade throughout the centuries to let us know that this is our time to be childlike again and experience real joy and peace. Don’t wait. Ask the Lord for a miracle today.

“This Christmas, let’s all be adventurous! Forgive everybody, smile when you want to cry, and expect a glowing miracle for the New Year. You know, it may just work!” Caro Vanni

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December 15, 2021


Wednesday of the Third Week of Advent
Lectionary: 189

Reading I – 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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Christmas Bookends


Reflection on Mass Reading for December 15, 2021

Theme for December: “Christmas is built upon a beautiful and intentional paradox; that the birth of the homeless child should be celebrated in every home.” G. K. Chesterton

Everything that has been revealed in the Old Testament is fulfilled in the New Testament; conversely, everything in the New completes Revelation in the Old. We have that occurrence today in our Readings. The Prophet Isaiah makes this astounding proclamation: “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.” This gives us a sort of blueprint to know what to expect in the promised Messiah. He will do all things wonderfully for us! Then, in the New Testament, we witness the sem-desperate approach of John the Baptist, viz-a-viz his disciples to Jesus with that nearly near-jerking question: “Are you the one who is to come, or should we look for another?” Both of these powerful passages prepare us for the coming of Christ in their distinctive ways. We could put it this way: The Old Testament tells us what to look for, and The New Testament responds that we find everything in Jesus Christ born to us at Christmas.

What is clear is this: God used ordinary people to achieve extraordinary wonders so that we could have Christmas and Easter, that is, the dawn of eternal life and the full splendor of the beautiful Day of the Lord for all of us in Heaven. The Lord uses you and me today to do much the same. With Christmas less than ten days away, challenge yourself to speak to as many people as you can with this greeting: “I am praying for you this Christmas.” See what happens.

Loving God, help us remember the birth of Jesus, that we may share in the song of the angels, the gladness of the shepherds, and the worship of the wise men. Amen.

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December 14, 2021


For the readings suggested for today’s Memorial, please go here.

Memorial of Saint John of the Cross, Priest and Doctor of the Church
Lectionary: 188

Reading I – 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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Well Done Vs. Well Said


Reflection on Mass Reading for December 14, 2021

Theme for December: “Christmas is built upon a beautiful and intentional paradox; that the birth of the homeless child should be celebrated in every home.” G. K. Chesterton

“Which of the two did his father’s will?” What a strange situation in today’s Gospel as we move closer and closer to Christmas Eve, just ten days away: One son says “I won’t,” but does; the other says “I will,” but doesn’t. This situation reminds us, among other things, that actions speak louder than words. Think of the people in your life that you can truly count on whenever necessary. We say that their words are “golden” because they are true. Sounds like integrity to me and Christmas is the best time to practice it.

“They shall do no wrong and speak no lies; Nor shall there be found in their mouths a deceitful tongue.” This entire discussion brings us right back to the First Reading. We must be honest and forthright with each other because we are responsible to each other. Many times our own friends will interpret our silence as approval in a wild variety of situations. “I didn’t know you felt that way” is a phrase that comes to mind when we do not risk rejection in the service of truth. Perhaps the basic message today is simple: You are what you do, not what you’ll say you do and this Christmas is another excellent opportunity to place the joy of Christmas in our hearts and not just say that we will.

“Christmas gift suggestions: To your enemy, forgiveness. To an opponent, tolerance. To a friend, your heart. To a customer, service. To all, charity. To every child, a good example. To yourself, respect.” Oren Arnold

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


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

Lectionary: 693

Below are the readings suggested for today’s Memorial. However, readings for the Memorial may also be taken from the Common of Pastors, #719-724, or the Common of Doctors of the Church, #725-730.

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.”

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December 13, 2021


For the readings suggested for today’s Memorial, please go here.

Memorial of Saint Lucy, Virgin and Martyr
Lectionary: 187

Reading I – 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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Unwrapping The Christmas Gift Of Forgiveness


Reflection on Mass Reading for December 13, 2021

Theme for December: “Christmas is built upon a beautiful and intentional paradox; that the birth of the homeless child should be celebrated in every home.” G. K. Chesterton

“Good and upright is the LORD; thus he shows sinners the way.” Sometimes we think of Christmas gifts that come in brightly wrapped packages and delightful bows of many colors. But what about another kind of gift? In the Great Season of Advent, the Lord Jesus, through the Scriptures, asks us all to consider the powerfully wonderful and awesome gift of actually forgiving another human being for Christmas. The healing nature of letting go of past and ugly hurts is made clear by the entire life and body of teaching of Christ the Lord, whose perfect birthday gift could be Forgiveness. It is safe to safe to say that he teaches us that you and I are the ones who are being forgiven every time we forgive another. Person. It is like the oil of relationships that does not change the past but only the future. We can hear the energy of this awesome message in the Responsorial Psalm: “Show us, LORD, your love, and grant us your salvation.”

This concept was also made crystal clear in the Gospel of today: “By what authority are you doing these things? And who gave you this authority?” The Baby Jesus came to earth to expose and propose love and Forgiveness as a means to set a prisoner free, only for us to discover that the prisoner is us! We could also call this the “Authority of Love” and accept this as one of the supreme non-refundable, non-returnable Christmas gifts of all of our lives. How beautiful!

“Christmas is not just a time for festivity and merry-making. It is more than that. It is a time for the contemplation of eternal things. The Christmas spirit is a spirit of giving and forgiving.” J. C. Penney

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December 13 – Memorial of Saint Lucy, virgin and martyr


For the Readings for the Memorial of Saint Lucy, Virgin and Martyr, please go here.

Lectionary: 692

Below are the readings suggested for today’s Memorial. However, readings for the Memorial may also be taken from the Common of Martyrs, #713-718, or the Common of Virgins, #731-736.

Reading 1 – 2 Cor 10:17B-11:2

Brothers and sisters:
Whoever boasts, should boast in the Lord.
For it is not the one who recommends himself who is approved,
but the one whom the Lord recommends.

If only you would put up with a little foolishness from me!
Please put up with me.
For I am jealous of you with the jealousy of God,
since I betrothed you to one husband
to present you as a chaste virgin to Christ.

Responsorial Psalm – Ps 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

R.    Alleluia, alleluia.
This is the wise virgin, whom the Lord found waiting;
at his coming, she went in with him to the wedding feast.
R.    Alleluia, alleluia.

Gospel – Mt 25:1-13

Jesus told his disciples this parable:
“The Kingdom of heaven will be like ten virgins
who took their lamps and went out to meet the bridegroom.
Five of them were foolish and five were wise.
The foolish ones, when taking their lamps,
brought no oil with them,
but the wise brought flasks of oil with their lamps.
Since the bridegroom was long delayed,
they all became drowsy and fell asleep.
At midnight, there was a cry,
‘Behold, the bridegroom!  Come out to meet him!’
Then all those virgins got up and trimmed their lamps.
The foolish ones said to the wise,
‘Give us some of your oil,
for our lamps are going out.’
But the wise ones replied,
‘No, for there may not be enough for us and you.
Go instead to the merchants and buy some for yourselves.’
While they went off to buy it,
the bridegroom came
and those who were ready went into the wedding feast with him.
Then the door was locked.
Afterwards the other virgins came and said,
‘Lord, Lord, open the door for us!’
But he said in reply,
‘Amen, I say to you, I do not know you.’
Therefore, stay awake,
for you know neither the day nor the hour.”

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December 12, 2021


Third Sunday of Advent
Lectionary: 92

Reading I – 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 – Is 12:2-3, 4, 5-6.

R. (6)  Cry out with joy and gladness: for among you is the great and Holy One of Israel.
God indeed is my savior;
    I am confident and unafraid.
My strength and my courage is the LORD,
    and he has been my savior.
With joy you will draw water
    at the fountain of salvation.
R. Cry out with joy and gladness: for among you is the great and Holy One of Israel.
Give thanks to the LORD, acclaim his name;
    among the nations make known his deeds,
proclaim how exalted is his name.
R. Cry out with joy and gladness: for among you is the great and Holy One of Israel.
Sing praise to the LORD for his glorious achievement;
    let this be known throughout all the earth.
Shout with exultation, O city of Zion,
    for great in your midst
    is the Holy One of Israel!
R. Cry out with joy and gladness: for among you is the great and Holy One of Israel.

Reading II – Phil 4:4-7

Brothers and sisters:
Rejoice in the Lord always.
I shall say it again:  rejoice!
Your kindness should be known to all.
The Lord is near.
Have no anxiety at all, but in everything, 
by prayer and petition, with thanksgiving, 
make your requests known to God.
Then the peace of God that surpasses all understanding 
will guard your hearts and minds in Christ Jesus.

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 – Lk 3:10-18

The crowds asked John the Baptist,
“What should we do?”
He said to them in reply,
“Whoever has two cloaks
should share with the person who has none. 
And whoever has food should do likewise.”
Even tax collectors came to be baptized and they said to him,
“Teacher, what should we do?”
He answered them, 
“Stop collecting more than what is prescribed.”
Soldiers also asked him,
“And what is it that we should do?”
He told them,
“Do not practice extortion, 
do not falsely accuse anyone, 
and be satisfied with your wages.”

Now the people were filled with expectation, 
and all were asking in their hearts 
whether John might be the Christ.
John answered them all, saying, 
“I am baptizing you with water,
but one mightier than I is coming.
I am not worthy to loosen the thongs of his sandals.
He will baptize you with the Holy Spirit and fire.
His winnowing fan is in his hand to clear his threshing floor
and to gather the wheat into his barn, 
but the chaff he will burn with unquenchable fire.”
Exhorting them in many other ways, 
he preached good news to the people.

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The Wonderful Life Of Christmas


Reflection on Mass Reading for December 12, 2021

Theme for December: “Christmas is built upon a beautiful and intentional paradox; that the birth of the homeless child should be celebrated in every home.” G. K. Chesterton

One day on Christmas Eve, a man found himself at the very depths and the bottom of the darkest point of his life, and in the famous movie, “It’s a Wonderful Life,” he discovers through a Christmas “Angel” what life would have been like if he had never been born. It gave him a new sense of purpose and a joy to be alive, giving him every reasonable reason to be happy and overjoyed: “Cry out with joy and gladness: for among you is the great and Holy One of Israel.” This is our goal today as we near Christmas Eve ourselves, just one week away! How do we do this?

“Rejoice always. Pray without ceasing. In all circumstances give thanks, for this is the will of God for you in Christ Jesus.” During these next two weeks before Christmas that we have, let us consider accomplishing the following:

1) SLOW DOWN,
2) FORGIVE
3) REMEMBER THOSE WHO HAVE LESS THAN WE DO.

“The crowds asked John the Baptist, ‘What should we do?'” This is where the wisdom, experience, and values of this Advent Season truly come into play. Only those things that we do for others, including the souls we try to rescue, will pass from this earth to the next. Everything else will burn up someday, but those things are done for Christ, and His glory will endure forever. You can’t take it with you, but you can certainly send it ahead and have it waiting for you when you use your time, talents, and treasure for the kingdom of God and for the glory of Jesus Christ: “The Spirit of the Lord is upon me, because he has anointed me to bring glad tidings to the poor.” If we can enter into the true spirit of Christmas, then it is truly a wonderful life!

“All you can take with you is that which you’ve given away.” on George Bailey’s office wall from the movie, It’s a Wonderful Life

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December 11, 2021


For the optional Readings for today’s Memorial, please go here.

Saturday of the Second Week of Advent
Lectionary: 186

Reading I – Sir 48:1-4, 9-11

    In those days,
    like a fire there appeared the prophet Elijah
        whose words were as a flaming furnace.
    Their staff of bread he shattered,
        in his zeal he reduced them to straits;
    By the Lord’s word he shut up the heavens
        and three times brought down fire.
    How awesome are you, Elijah, in your wondrous deeds!
        Whose glory is equal to yours?
    You were taken aloft in a whirlwind of fire,
        in a chariot with fiery horses.
    You were destined, it is written, in time to come
        to put an end to wrath before the day of the LORD,
    To turn back the hearts of fathers toward their sons,
        and to re-establish the tribes of Jacob.
    Blessed is he who shall have seen you 
        and who falls asleep in your friendship.

Responsorial Psalm – 80:2ac and 3b, 15-16, 18-19

R.    (4) Lord, make us turn to you; let us see your face and we shall be saved.
O shepherd of Israel, hearken,
From your throne upon the cherubim, shine forth.
Rouse your power.
R.    Lord, make us turn to you; let us see your face and we shall be saved.
Once again, O LORD of hosts,
    look down from heaven, and see;
Take care of this vine,
    and protect what your right hand has planted
    the son of man whom you yourself made strong.
R.    Lord, make us turn to you; let us see your face and we shall be saved.
May your help be with the man of your right hand,
    with the son of man whom you yourself made strong.
Then we will no more withdraw from you;
    give us new life, and we will call upon your name.
R.    Lord, make us turn to you; let us see your face and we shall be saved.

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 – Mt 17:9a, 10-13

As they were coming down from the mountain,
the disciples asked Jesus,
“Why do the scribes say that Elijah must come first?”
He said in reply, “Elijah will indeed come and restore all things;
but I tell you that Elijah has already come,
and they did not recognize him but did to him whatever they pleased. 
So also will the Son of Man suffer at their hands.”
Then the disciples understood
that he was speaking to them of John the Baptist.

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Christmas Fire


Reflection on Mass Reading for December 11, 2021

Theme for December: “Christmas is built upon a beautiful and intentional paradox; that the birth of the homeless child should be celebrated in every home.” G. K. Chesterton

“In those days, like a fire there appeared the prophet Elijah whose words were as a flaming furnace.” Since Christmas occurs for many of us during the winter season, many chimneys and fireplaces are lit up, filled with fire and warmth and light for the festivities to come. But that is not the only place where a fire could be raging. Christmas brings us face to face with the Bay Jesus to enlighten and “jump-start” our faith. Something truly can come alive in a most exciting way if we truly find our way back to the manger this Christmas. That may take some doing given all the distractions, worries, obstacles, and hardships just like the First Christmas! “Lord, make us turn to you; let us see your face and we shall be saved.”

It is hard to imagine that this Baby at Christmas will die for our sins and lead us all into Heaven. It is the same way with new parents who welcome their children into the world on the first day, knowing that there is so much waiting for them ahead. “So also will the Son of Man suffer at their hands.” This is why our Christmas must light the fire of faith in each one of us as we boldly face this Christmas and whatever the New Year has in store for us. Jesus is already there.

“Christmas is a season for kindling the fire for hospitality in the hall, the genial flame of charity in the heart.” Washington Irving

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December 11 – Optional Memorial of Saint Damasus I, pope


For the Readings for the Saturday of the Second Week of Advent , please go here.

Lectionary: 690

Below are the readings suggested for today’s Memorial. However, readings for the Memorial may also be taken from the Common of Pastors: For a Pope, #719-724.

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.”

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December 10, 2021


For the optional Readings for today’s Memorial, please go here.

Friday of the Second Week of Advent
Lectionary: 185

Reading I – 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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Humbug Or Holiness


Reflection on Mass Reading for December 10, 2021

Theme for December: “Christmas is built upon a beautiful and intentional paradox; that the birth of the homeless child should be celebrated in every home.” G. K. Chesterton

“We played the flute for you, but you did not dance, we sang a dirge but you did not mourn.” There seem to be two diametrically different prevailing attitudes around this time of year concerning the playing and singing of Christmas Carols. On the one hand, some people appear to lament and even disdain their playing partly because it is a constant reminder of the pressure of the season to shop and spend and who maintain the attitude that “they can’t wait till it’s all over.” On the other hand, some start playing those wonderfully memorable songs even before Thanksgiving. Imagine if people from both groups have to work together!

“If you would hearken to my commandments, your prosperity would be like a river, and your vindication like the waves of the sea.” The problem is probably a very old one, which may not have ever found a peaceful solution, but the underlying issue is what is really at stake here. It has everything to do with what is inside the human heart at any time of the year. We have called these “core beliefs,” which everyone has. When we believe in something pessimistic so strongly, we look for evidence to support those core beliefs. Unfortunately, when this happens, we see the world through heavily-filtered goggles. In the process, we collect evidence that supports our (usually negative) core beliefs and fail to recognize any evidence that could contradict these beliefs. We often collect this evidence from people. So ensues the vicious, self-serving, self-fulfilling prophecy cycle, and we now see the world through the eyes of our core beliefs. But just think of the opportunities and possibilities if our core beliefs included the acceptance and adherence to the simple truth that I have been called to a full life full of joy and that every single day of my life, I can and will find evidence to support that? The joy and peace in life would be totally and wonderfully unpredictable. We could and should call this the quintessential “abundant life.”

It is what we hold in the deepest recesses of our hearts and minds, and they truly shape how we look at everything in life, from a stalled car on the freeway to the meaning of life itself. So choose today: “Bah, humbug,” or “Come, Lord, Jesus.”

“Off to one side sits a group of shepherds. They sit silently on the floor, perhaps perplexed, perhaps in awe, no doubt in amazement. Their night watch had been interrupted by an explosion of light from heaven and a symphony of angels. God goes to those who have time to hear him–and so on this cloudless night, he went to simple shepherds.” Max Lucado

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December 10 – Optional Memorial of Our Lady of Loreto


For the Readings for the Friday of the Second Week of Advent, please go here.

Lectionary: 689B

Below are the readings suggested for today’s Memorial. However, readings for the Memorial may also be taken from the Common of the Blessed Virgin Mary, #707-712.

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

(49)  The Almighty has done great things for me, and holy is his Name.

or:

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.”

The Almighty has done great things for me, and holy is his Name.

or:

  1. 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.”The Almighty has done great things for me, and holy is his Name.or: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.”The Almighty has done great things for me, and holy is his Name.or: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.”The Almighty has done great things for me, and holy is his Name.or: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.”The Almighty has done great things for me, and holy is his Name.or:O Blessed Virgin Mary, you carried the Son of the eternal Father. 

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 9, 2021


For the readings suggested for today’s Memorial, please go here.

Thursday of the Second Week of Advent
Lectionary: 184

Reading I – 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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Roses In December


Reflection on Mass Reading for December 9, 2021

Theme for December: “Christmas is built upon a beautiful and intentional paradox; that the birth of the homeless child should be celebrated in every home.” G. K. Chesterton

Today is the Feast of Saint Juan Diego, who witnessed the amazing apparition of the Virgin Mary at Tepeyac Hill in Mexico City in the mid-16th century. For the longest time, the church resisted proclaiming through the proper and inspired channels to name Juan Diego an actual Saint. This was because his body was never found, his grave was unmarked, and no other traditional markers would underscore his existence. That was until St. John Paul II declared that the tilma, the outer garment of Juan Diego which received the miraculous image of Our Lady of Guadalupe, was deemed proof enough, and so it is a most wonderful answer to the mystery of that hill so long ago: “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.”

“In you, Lord, I have found my peace.” The most profound aspect of this humble saint, however, can be found amid the anticipated joy of those who are longing for their own Christmas miracle and all year long. The dramatic scene where St. Juan Diego opens his cloak to reveal the image of Our Lady and a cascade of roses falling with aroma and flash of red color speaks much more: There is always hope, especially in dark, uncertain moments (roses in December) for those who trust in God and claim for this life the blessing of those who want to live in the Kingdom. In this Advent Season, keep praying for your miracle and wait with grateful expectation: “Come to me, all you who labor and are burdened, and I will give you rest.”

Prayer to Saint Juan Diego: You who were chosen by Our Lady of Guadalupe as an instrument to show your people and the world that the way of Christianity is one of love, compassion, understanding, values, sacrifices, repentance of our sins, appreciation, and respect for God’s creation, and most of all one of humility and obedience. You who we know is now in the Kingdom of the Lord and close to our Mother, be our angel and protect us, stay with us as we struggle in this modern life not knowing most of the time where to set our priorities. Help us to pray to our God to obtain the gifts of the Holy Spirit and use them for the good of humanity and the good of our Church, through the Heart of Our Lady of Guadalupe to the Heart of Jesus. Amen.

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December 9 – Optional Memorial of Saint Juan Diego Cuauhtlatoatzin


For the readings for Thursday of the Second Week of Advent , please go here.

Lectionary: 689A
From the Common of Holy Men and Women (vol. II, III, or IV, nos. 737-742),

or:

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.”

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December 8, 2021


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

Reading I – 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 me
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 II – 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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Immaculate Conception: Out Of The Blue*


Reflection on Mass Reading for December 8, 2021

Theme for December: “Christmas is built upon a beautiful and intentional paradox; that the birth of the homeless child should be celebrated in every home.” G. K. Chesterton

Today is the glorious Feast of the Immaculate Conception of the Virgin Mary, which has a long and complex history. It goes back to the understanding of the mystery of Mary in her privileged relationship with God and with the mystery of Salvation, to which she is associated from the first moment of her existence, as being “full of grace” and love of God. In a particular way, the expression “full of grace” has been rediscovered in its most profound sense that she was prepared from the beginning of time for this remarkably pivotal role in all of Salvation: “Hail, full of grace! The Lord is with you.” The very words that the Angel Gabriel addressed to Mary place front and center at the moment that Jesus Christ became incarnate in her body and as true God and true Man, sacrifices everything for our Salvation to Heaven.

The Catechism of the Catholic Church explains it this way: (490) To become the mother of the Savior, Mary “was enriched by God with gifts appropriate to such a role.” The angel Gabriel at the moment of the annunciation, salutes her as “full of grace.” For Mary to be able to give the free assent of her faith to the announcement of her vocation, she needed to be wholly borne by God’s grace. (491) Through the centuries, the Church has become ever more aware that Mary, “full of grace” through God, was redeemed from the moment of her conception. That is what the dogma of the Immaculate Conception confesses, as Pope Pius IX proclaimed in 1854: “The most Blessed Virgin Mary was, from the first moment of her conception, by a singular grace and privilege of almighty God and by virtue of the merits of Jesus Christ, Savior of the human race, preserved immune from all stain of original sin.”

For us today, this is truly overwhelming: God wants all of us to be saved, and only one like us (Jesus) and one like Him (God) could accomplish that. Our humanity, with all its weaknesses and damage, still has the potential of true greatness. “Sing to the Lord a new song, for he has done marvelous deeds.” (Responsorial Psalm) The disobedience of Eve has been forgiven, and humanity has been restored by the obedience of Mary. This is why the two are will always be inextricably intertwined for all humanity: “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.”

*Blue traditionally is the symbolic color for the Virgin Mary

O God, who by the Immaculate Conception of the Blessed Virgin Mary, did prepare a worthy dwelling place for Your Son, we beseech You that, as by the foreseen death of this, Your Son, You did preserve her from all stain, so too You would permit us, purified through her intercession, to come to You. Amen.

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December 7, 2021


For the readings suggested for today’s Memorial, please go here.

Memorial of Saint Ambrose, Bishop and Doctor of the Church
Lectionary: 182

Reading I – Is 40:1-11

    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.

    A voice says, “Cry out!”
        I answer, “What shall I cry out?”
    “All flesh is grass,
        and all their glory like the flower of the field.
    The grass withers, the flower wilts,
        when the breath of the LORD blows upon it.
        So then, the people is the grass.
    Though the grass withers and the flower wilts,
        the word of our God stands forever.”

    Go up onto 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 – 96:1-2, 3 and 10AC, 11-12, 13

R.    (see Isaiah 40:10AB)  The Lord our God comes with power.
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.    The Lord our God comes with power.
Tell his glory among the nations;
    among all peoples, his wondrous deeds.
Say among the nations: The LORD is king;
    he governs the peoples with equity.
R.    The Lord our God comes with power.
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 let all the trees of the forest rejoice.
R.    The Lord our God comes with power.
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.    The Lord our God comes with power.

Alleluia

R. Alleluia, alleluia.
The day of the Lord is near;
Behold, he comes to save us.
R. Alleluia, alleluia

Gospel – Mt 18:12-14

Jesus said to his disciples:
“What is your opinion? 
If a man has a hundred sheep and one of them goes astray,
will he not leave the ninety-nine in the hills
and go in search of the stray? 
And if he finds it, amen, I say to you, he rejoices more over it
than over the ninety-nine that did not stray. 
In just the same way, it is not the will of your heavenly Father
that one of these little ones be lost.”

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


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

Lectionary: 688

Below are the readings suggested for today’s Memorial. However, readings for the Memorial may also be taken from the Common of Pastors, #719-724, or the Common of Doctors of the Church, #725-730.

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.     For ever 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.    For ever 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.    For ever 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.    For ever 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.    For ever 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.”

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Comfort and Joy


Reflection on Mass Reading for December 7, 2021

Theme for December: “Christmas is built upon a beautiful and intentional paradox; that the birth of the homeless child should be celebrated in every home.” G. K. Chesterton

“Comfort, give comfort to my people, says your God.” God rest ye merry gentlemen/ Let nothing you dismay./ Remember Christ our Savior/ Was born on Christmas Day./ To save us all from Satan’s pow’r/ When we were gone astray/ Oh tidings of comfort and joy/Comfort and joy/Oh tidings of comfort and joy.

Years ago, our young pastor would seize on the anticipation between Thanksgiving and Christmas to teach the history of Christmas Carols. What a joy! One evening we learned about the carol referred above. What an eye-opener! We learned that there was an almost hidden meaning behind this song. You see, back in the Middle Ages, the word “merry” meant great and mighty. Then, the word “rest.” really meant to keep or make. Thus, today, to arrive at the true meaning of this carol, we should sing, “May God make you all great and mighty people!” So how would this bring us “Comfort and Joy”?

Men and women who are great are also just and kind. They follow the Law of God but with a heart of mercy of love and forgiveness: “Comfort, give comfort to my people, says your God.” These attitudes help produce a clean conscience “that can sleep through storms” and spread the real message of Christmas even though all the cumbersome activities, distractions, lack of time, and money invariably rob most people of the true spirit of Christmas. As great and mighty Christians, we can make a difference this Christmas by living our faith before everyone we meet, especially our families.

The next time someone asks us what we are doing or getting for Christmas, we can tell them and remind each other that Christ was born to die and that, in Him, we might live forever, the greatest gift we could or ever receive in this lifetime and the next. God Rest Ye Merry, Gentlemen, is more than just a Christmas carol. It can be our way of thanking God for being rescued and saved by Jesus to live forever in our true home in Heaven. “In just the same way way, it is not the will of your heavenly Father that one of these little ones be lost.”

Now to the Lord sing praises/ All you within this place/ And with true love and brotherhood/ Each other now embrace/ This holy tide of Christmas/ All other doth deface. Oh tidings of comfort and joy/Comfort and joy/Oh tidings of comfort and joy.

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December 6, 2021


For the optional readings for today’s Memorial, please go here.

Monday of the Second Week of Advent
Lectionary: 181

Reading I – 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 captivity.
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 6 – Optional Memorial of Saint Nicholas, bishop


For the readings for Monday of the second week of Advent, please go here.

Lectionary: 687

Below are the readings suggested for today’s Memorial. However, readings for the Memorial may also be taken from the Common of Pastors, #719-724.

Reading 1 – Is 6:1-8

In the year King Uzziah died,
I saw the Lord seated on a high and lofty throne,
with the train of his garment filling the temple.
Seraphim were stationed above; each of them had six wings:
with two they veiled their faces,
with two they veiled their feet,
and with two they hovered aloft.

“Holy, holy, holy is the LORD of hosts!”
they cried, one to the other.
“All the earth is filled with his glory!”
At the sound of that cry, the frame of the door shook
and the house was filled with smoke.

Then I said, “Woe is me, I am doomed!
For I am a man of unclean lips,
living among a people of unclean lips;
yet my eyes have seen the King, the LORD of hosts!”
Then one of the seraphim flew to me,
holding an ember which he had taken with tongs from the altar.

He touched my mouth with it and said,
“See, now that this has touched your lips,
your wickedness is removed, your sin purged.”

Then I heard the voice of the Lord saying,
“Whom shall I send?  Who will go for us?”
“Here I am,” I said; “send me!”

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 – Lk 4:18

R.    Alleluia, alleluia.
The Lord sent me to bring glad tidings to the poor
and to proclaim liberty to captives.
R.    Alleluia, alleluia.

Gospel – Lk 10:1-9

The Lord Jesus appointed seventy-two disciples
whom he sent ahead of him in pairs
to every town and place he intended to visit.
He said to them,
“The harvest is abundant but the laborers are few;
so ask the master of the harvest
to send out laborers for his harvest.
Go on your way;
behold, I am sending you like lambs among wolves.
Carry no money bag, no sack, no sandals;
and greet no one along the way.
Into whatever house you enter,
first say, ‘Peace to this household.’
If a peaceful person lives there,
your peace will rest on him;
but if not, it will return to you.
Stay in the same house and eat and drink what is offered to you,
for the laborer deserves his payment.
Do not move about from one house to another.
Whatever town you enter and they welcome you,
eat what is set before you,
cure the sick in it and say to them,
‘The Kingdom of God is at hand for you.'”

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Nicholas Lives And Gives In Us


Reflection on Mass Reading for December 6, 2021

Theme for December: “Christmas is built upon a beautiful and intentional paradox; that the birth of the homeless child should be celebrated in every home.” G. K. Chesterton

Today is the time-honored, child-revered, legend-laden Feast of St. Nicholas. Let us celebrate as co-travelers through what is left of mystery and grace left in our world! Something is certainly different about today, and perhaps this is why.

The one everyone knows as Santa Claus has a remarkable history all his own, reaching back to the 3rd century to a monk named Nicholas. Most historians place his birth around 280 A.D. in modern-day Turkey and describe him as someone admired for his beautiful generosity and kindness. Many sources reveal that he gave away all of his inherited wealth and traveled the countryside, helping the poor and sick, including three poor sisters, from being sold into slavery or prostitution by their father by providing them with a dowry so that they could be married. For the next 17 centuries, Santa Claus has evolved and become the virtual symbol of happy, childlike, innocent fun with an almost magical sense of giving and receiving and spreading goodness throughout the entire year.

It is the kind of existence that is painted by our First Reading today: “Here is your God, he comes with vindication; With divine recompense he comes to save you.” Without drifting needlessly into cynicism, let us state that St. Nicholas is still alive and well in the hearts of those who love Christmas and who never forget the true source and power of the season, Jesus Christ. If we accept the Lord Jesus into our everyday thinking and acting, St. Nick is alive THROUGH us because Jesus is alive IN us. In this second week of Advent waiting and watching for the Birth of Jesus, consider how Christmas both amazes and mystifies our families and friends, especially children. Let us be the miracle people seek, the hope they look for, and the true spirit of love and peace that we all need to experience. It is straight from the mind and heart of Christ: “We have seen incredible things today.”

O good St. Nicholas, you who are the joy of the children, put in my heart the spirit of childhood, which the Gospel speaks, and teach me to seed happiness around me. You, whose feast prepares us for Christmas, open my faith to the mystery of God made man. You good bishop and shepherd, help me to find my place in the Church and inspire the Church to be faithful to the Gospel. O good Saint Nicholas, patron of children, sailors and the helpless, watch over those who pray to Jesus, your Lord and theirs, as well as over those who humble themselves before you. Bring us all in reverence to the Holy Child of Bethlehem, when true joy and peace are found. Amen.

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Christmas Healing Of Our Deepest Wounds


Reflection on Mass Reading for December 5, 2021

Theme for December: “Christmas is built upon a beautiful and intentional paradox; that the birth of the homeless child should be celebrated in every home.” G. K. Chesterton

As we prepare this month of December for the Great Feast of Christmas, it becomes more and more necessary to introduce a little more realism into the mystery of what we are celebrating, what it means to us now and for the rest of our lives. The message here is quite simple and should explain much in terms of how most of us experienced this wonderful time of the year as children. Life will always involve suffering, and true happiness will depend not on the absence of pain but on the effective and positive ways we deal with it.

“Prepare the way of the Lord, make straight his paths: All flesh shall see the salvation of God.” Thus the way we prepare for Christmas, the First Coming of Christ, will form and standardize the way we live all of the rest of the year, and for that matter, for the rest of our lives, that is to say, the Second Coming. This is why many of us believe that the “magic” and splendor of Christmas that we remember from childhood were placed there precisely because our parents and extended family knew what was waiting for us ahead.

“I pray always with joy in my every prayer for all of you, because of your partnership for the gospel from the first day until now.” It would just take a few minutes to realize something that we all tend to overlook every Christmas about the first Christmas: The Baby Jesus was born most cruelly and inefficiently with a price tag on his head and filth all around him, not to mention the fear and trepidation surrounding his first few minutes alive on our planet. Yet, there is so much joy and relief that is to be shared universally that it tends to overshadow the meanness of the world into which the Author of Love was born. Take some time today and let these messages sink in and make a difference in how we approach Christmas Eve and the rest of life that is waiting. It will be festive as it will be glorious.

“In the twilight of life, God will not judge us on our earthly possessions and human success, but rather on much we have loved. In the inner stillness where mediation leads, the Spirit secretly anoints the soul and heals our deepest wounds.” St. John of the Cross

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December 5, 2021


Second Sunday of Advent
Lectionary: 6

Reading I – Bar 5:1-9

Jerusalem, take off your robe of mourning and misery;
    put on the splendor of glory from God forever:
wrapped in the cloak of justice from God,
    bear on your head the mitre
    that displays the glory of the eternal name.
For God will show all the earth your splendor:
    you will be named by God forever
    the peace of justice, the glory of God’s worship.
    
Up, Jerusalem! stand upon the heights;
    look to the east and see your children
gathered from the east and the west
    at the word of the Holy One,
    rejoicing that they are remembered by God.
Led away on foot by their enemies they left you:
    but God will bring them back to you
    borne aloft in glory as on royal thrones.
For God has commanded
    that every lofty mountain be made low,
and that the age-old depths and gorges
    be filled to level ground,
    that Israel may advance secure in the glory of God.
The forests and every fragrant kind of tree
    have overshadowed Israel at God’s command;
for God is leading Israel in joy
    by the light of his glory,
    with his mercy and justice for company.

Responsorial Psalm – Ps 126:1-2, 2-3, 4-5, 6

R. (3)  The Lord has done great things for us; we are filled with joy.
When the LORD brought back the captives of Zion,
   we were like men dreaming.
Then our mouth was filled with laughter,
   and our tongue with rejoicing. 
R. The Lord has done great things for us; we are filled with joy.
Then they said among the nations,
  “The LORD has done great things for them.”
The LORD has done great things for us;
   we are glad indeed. 
R. The Lord has done great things for us; we are filled with joy.
Restore our fortunes, O LORD,
   like the torrents in the southern desert.
Those who sow in tears
   shall reap rejoicing. 
R. The Lord has done great things for us; we are filled with joy.
Although they go forth weeping,
   carrying the seed to be sown,
They shall come back rejoicing,
   carrying their sheaves.
R. The Lord has done great things for us; we are filled with joy.

Reading II – Phil 1:4-6, 8-11

Brothers and sisters:
I pray always with joy in my every prayer for all of you, 
because of your partnership for the gospel 
from the first day until now.
I am confident of this,
that the one who began a good work in you
will continue to complete it 
until the day of Christ Jesus.
God is my witness, 
how I long for all of you with the affection of Christ Jesus.
And this is my prayer:
that your love may increase ever more and more 
in knowledge and every kind of perception, 
to discern what is of value, 
so that you may be pure and blameless for the day of Christ, 
filled with the fruit of righteousness 
that comes through Jesus Christ 
for the glory and praise of God.

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 – Lk 3:1-6

In the fifteenth year of the reign of Tiberius Caesar, 
when Pontius Pilate was governor of Judea, 
and Herod was tetrarch of Galilee,
and his brother Philip tetrarch of the region
of Ituraea and Trachonitis, 
and Lysanias was tetrarch of Abilene, 
during the high priesthood of Annas and Caiaphas, 
the word of God came to John the son of Zechariah in the desert.
John went throughout the whole region of the Jordan, 
proclaiming a baptism of repentance for the forgiveness of sins, 
as it is written in the book of the words of the prophet Isaiah:
    A voice of one crying out in the desert:
    “Prepare the way of the Lord,
        make straight his paths.
    Every valley shall be filled
        and every mountain and hill shall be made low.
    The winding roads shall be made straight,
        and the rough ways made smooth,
    and all flesh shall see the salvation of God.”

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December 4, 2021


For the optional readings for today’s Memorial, please go here.

Saturday of the First Week of Advent
Lectionary: 180

Reading I – 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 – Optional Memorial of Saint John of Damascus, priest, religious, doctor of the Church


For the readings for the Saturday of the First Week of Advent, please go here.

Lectionary: 686

Below are the readings suggested for today’s Memorial. However, readings for the Memorial may also be taken from the Common of Pastors, #719-724, or the Common of Doctors of the Church, #725-730.

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, one–
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, one–
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.'”

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A Shepherd’s Christmas


Reflection on Mass Reading for December 4, 2021

Theme for December: “Christmas is built upon a beautiful and intentional paradox; that the birth of the homeless child should be celebrated in every home.” G. K. Chesterton

Some of our readers, perhaps, have already placed that familiar collection of famous Christmas figures amidst a little hay, lights, and maybe even some photos of Christmas past. Among those figures are the Holy Family, Angels, Magi, and a couple of shepherds. While the image of a shepherd may not resound with many people in this day and age, the essential nature and quality of the person who takes care of sheep should never be forgotten or overlooked. A shepherd in the modern sense could easily apply to anyone who actively takes care of another, looking out for their needs and communicating to those they serve with the greatest amount of respect, devotion, and commitment. We could say that among the more recognizable modern shepherds among us are parents, godparents, teachers, coaches, and mentors. Furthermore, we could also assert that these shepherds are Christ-figures for the world today, acting in such a way that those receiving these acts of love and care will, with their own volition and freedom, pass the blessings forward to their children and or those in need in their future.

“The harvest is abundant but the laborers are few; so ask the master of the harvest to send out laborers for his harvest.” Here is the central issue and main concern of the meaning of the Scriptures today. Be like Christ! Whenever possible, find someone to save and save them. Pass on to them what you have received and ask for nothing in return but the knowledge and satisfaction that you are doing the work of the Good Shepherd, Jesus Christ. What a profound idea to consider when we realize how much the Good Shepherd has blessed us. With all those in the world who truly need guidance and vision, now is the time to shepherd those God has given us to love. Imagine being one of those shepherds who witnessed the First Christmas. How about being a shepherd who witnesses this Christmas?

“Christ has no body now but yours. No hands, no feet on earth but yours. Yours are the eyes through which He looks compassion on this world. Yours are the feet with which He walks to do good. Yours are the hands through which He blesses all the world. Yours are the hands, yours are the feet, yours are the eyes, you are His body. Christ has no body now on earth but yours.” St. Teresa d’Avila

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December 3, 2021


For the readings suggested for today’s Memorial, please go here.

Memorial of Saint Francis Xavier, Priest
Lectionary: 179

Reading I – 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 3 – Memorial of Saint Francis Xavier, priest


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

Lectionary: 685

Below are the readings suggested for today’s Memorial. However, readings for the Memorial may also be taken from the Common of Pastors: For Missionaries, #719-724.

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 16:15-20J

esus 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.

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Christmas Sight For The Blind


Reflection on Mass Reading for December 3, 2021

Theme for December: “Christmas is built upon a beautiful and intentional paradox; that the birth of the homeless child should be celebrated in every home.” G. K. Chesterton

One morning, I stopped on my way to work at a local gas station: a 1. convenience store, 2. vegetable market, 3. breakfast, and lunch counter, and 4. a stage of ongoing human drama. Of course, I arrived when a long line had already formed for everything from unleaded gas to lottery tickets, so I purchased a cup of coffee and some other items and placed them on a small table toward the back. At the same time, I realized that I had left my wallet in my car. As I returned, I witnessed a man of about 25 years of age stumble by the table, sit down, and spill over the coffee onto the fruit and the newspaper which I was about to purchase. “Breathe, breathe…” I continued to think to myself. I began to walk over to the table and once again, “breathe again, it’s the beginning of your day….please God help me right now….” Slowing down, I was glad the hot coffee had not spilled over his clothes, and with no one else was around, I guess I could’ve just left everything as it was, but that’s not my way of doing things. I saw a mop in the nearby closet and just accepted the fact that this nice, freshly ironed, and dry cleaned yellow shirt of mine would be less than crisp and ready for my desk work today. When I turned around, I was so thankful for God’s grace and mercy. That young man was blind.

As I neared the table with the mop, I began to say as gently and as slowly as I could, “I’m sorry about all this. It’s my coffee. Don’t worry, I’ll clean it up. No worries.” He tried to apologize as well, and before you know it, it was all better and all cleaned. I suggested that we thank God that no one was burned or hurt and that we were both able to walk and still make this day good no matter what. “Jesus defeated death,” I said, “and he can surely take care of little spilled coffee.” One of the attendants, who had been up all night on the graveyard shift, suddenly appeared and barked at both of us, “who’s going to pay for the coffee and all this other stuff?” I looked up and surveyed the man who was easily half a foot taller than me and who played football in high school: “I guess I will, sir.”

“NO, YOU WON’T!” came a fierce response from the refrigerated coolers around the corner. It came from an older woman, dressed for work and apparently for action, who continued, “I saw the whole thing. Get away from there! I’ll take care of it!” And with that, she not only paid for my items but yet another set for my blind friend and me and a coffee for herself, and all three of us sat for about 10 minutes just talking about nothing….”

Today we are celebrating the first Friday of this great season of Advent, a time of transformation and growth when there will undoubtedly be many opportunities to learn something new and find new fellow Christians struggling as much as we are. What could we learn from what God has exposed us to open our hearts and minds? Let’s take a look:

“And out of gloom and darkness, the eyes of the blind shall see.” Let us not rush to judgment and quickly rely on the appearances of things. Treasures are lurking. “Those who err in spirit shall acquire understanding, and those who find fault shall receive instruction.” When we trust in Jesus, even though the toughest of moments, the light will shine. “The LORD is my light and my salvation; whom should I fear?” We can never be lost if we follow close by the Light of the World because that is precisely why he came to us: “And their eyes were opened.”

“The only thing worse than being blind is having no vision.” Helen Keller

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Storm Warnings In Advent


Reflection on Mass Reading for December 2, 2021

Theme for December: “Christmas is built upon a beautiful and intentional paradox; that the birth of the homeless child should be celebrated in every home.” G. K. Chesterton

“Everyone who listens to these words of mine and acts on them will be like a wise man who built his house on rock.” Everyone creates their VERY EXISTENCE (home) on something. You could say that every person we meet already has a foundation underneath everything they do and say. The one true revelation as to that base of life is what happens to a person when a storm or severe crisis hits. What do they do? Who do they turn to? What is their strategy? Rock (Jesus) or Sand (the world)?

Here is what St. John Chrysostom has to say about it: “By ‘rain’ here, and ‘floods,’ and ‘winds,’ He is expressing metaphorically the calamities and afflictions that befall everyone; such as false accusations, plots, bereavements, deaths, loss of friends, vexations from strangers, all the ills in our life that any one could mention. ‘But to none of these,’ says He, ‘does such a soul give way; and the cause is, it is founded on the rock.'”

The real mystery of Christmas is quite dramatic. Imagine the plight of Mary and Joseph, the Holy Innocents, the Magi, and the countless unsung people who helped make the birth of Christ the magnificent event it was. What it can truly teach you and me, right here, right now, is simple:

“Sometimes, you just have to bow your head, say a prayer, and weather the storm.” – Unknown

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December 2, 2021


Thursday of the First Week of Advent
Lectionary: 178

Reading I – 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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House of Bread


Reflection on Mass Reading for December 1, 2021

Theme for December: “Christmas is built upon a beautiful and intentional paradox; that the birth of the homeless child should be celebrated in every home.” G. K. Chesterton

A very interesting bit of Christmas trivia should be part of our collected batch of important points of reference as we move closer and closer to this Christmas and beyond. It has to do with the name of the ever-so-famous little town where our Savior was born: Bethlehem. The actual name in Hebrew sounds more like Betel-lehem, which are two different words combined to make the phrase, “House of Bread.”

“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.” This Christmas morsel is quite significant because of the nature of Jesus Himself, the Bread of Life for the world. Christmas can be a time where we could look to experience not only healing but also a moment of nourishment for our tired souls and the remedy for which problems we might be experiencing here and now. Do you realize that God wants all of us to be happy? This is one of the season’s deepest, most wonderful goals to make things bright, both internally and externally. Open your heart to accepting this wonderful invitation to receive the Body of Christ and be filled with a divine love that knows no end. This is precisely why Christmas is merry.

“Christ knew that by bread alone you cannot reanimate man. If there were no spiritual life, no ideal of Beauty, man would pine away, die, go mad, kill himself or give himself to pagan fantasies. And as Christ, the ideal of Beauty in Himself and his Word, he decided it was better to implant the ideal of Beauty in the soul. If it exists in the soul, each would be the brother of everyone else and then, of course, working for each other, all would also be rich.” Fyodor Dostoevsky

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December 1, 2021


Wednesday of the First Week of Advent
Lectionary: 177

Reading I – Is 25:6-10B

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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