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Thursday 7 December 2017 Saint Ambrose, Bishop, Doctor

Entrance Antiphon : Cf. Sir 15: 5

In the midst of the Church he opened his mouth, and the Lord filled him with the spirit of wisdom and understanding and clothed him in a robe of glory.

Collect

O God, who made the Bishop Saint Ambrose a teacher of the Catholic faith and a model of apostolic courage, raise up in your Church men after your own heart to govern her with courage and wisdom. Through our Lord Jesus Christ, your Son, who lives and reigns with you in the unity of the Holy Spirit, one God, for ever and ever.

First Reading : Isaiah 26:1-6

That day, this song will be sung in the land of Judah: We have a strong city; to guard us he has set wall and rampart about us. Open the gates! Let the upright nation come in, she, the faithful one whose mind is steadfast, who keeps the peace, because she trusts in you. Trust in the Lord for ever, for the Lord is the everlasting Rock; he has brought low those who lived high up in the steep citadel; he brings it down, brings it down to the ground, flings it down in the dust: the feet of the lowly, the footsteps of the poor trample on it.

Responsorial Psalm Ps 117

R/Blessed in the name of the Lordis he who comes.

  1. Give thanks to the Lord for he is good, for his love has no end. It is better to take refuge in the Lord than to trust in men: it is better to take refuge in the Lord than to trust in princes.
  2. Open to me the gates of holiness: I will enter and give thanks. This is the Lord’s own gate where the just may enter I will thank you for you have given answer and you are my saviour.
  3. O Lord, grant us salvation; O Lord, grant success. Blessed in the name of the Lord is he who comes. We bless you from the house of the Lord; the Lord God is our light.

GOSPEL ACCLAMATION Is 55:6

Alleluia, alleluia!Seek the Lord while he is still to be found, Call to him while he is still near.Alleluia!

GOSPEL : Matthew 7:21. 24-27

A reading from the holy Gospel according to

Jesus said to his disciples: ‘It is not those who say to me, “Lord, Lord”, who will enter the kingdom of heaven, but the person who does the will of my Father in heaven.’ Therefore, everyone who listens to these words of mine and acts on them will be like a sensible man who built his house on rock. Rain came down, floods rose, gales blew and hurled themselves against that house, and it did not fall: it was founded on rock. But everyone who listens to these words of mine and does not act on them will be like a stupid man who built his house on sand. Rain came down, floods rose, gales blew and struck that house, and it fell; and what a fall it had!’

Prayer over the Offerings

As we celebrate the divine mysteries, O Lord, we pray, may the Holy Spirit fill us with that light of faith by which he constantly enlightened Saint Ambrose for the spreading of your glory. Through Christ our Lord.

Communion Antiphon : Cf. Ps 1: 2, 3

He who ponders the law of the Lord day and night will yield fruit in due season.

 

Prayer after Communion

Lead us, who have been strengthened by the power of this Sacrament, O Lord, so to profit from the teaching of Saint Ambrose that, hastening fearlessly along your paths, we may be prepared for the delights of the eternal banquet. Through Christ our Lord.

A rock is the very symbol of stability, consistency, concreteness.... Of course it is also the symbol of hardness and rigidity, but that is not in focus here. There are people who remind you of rocks: some of them incarnate the first qualities, but some the second. We need those first qualities. Stability: not to be blown around by every wind of opinion, every passing enthusiasm, every fashion of the moment.... Consistency: not to try and get by with clever words alone, but to have the weight of one’s life behind each word we speak - so much so, and so habitually, that quite often no words are necessary at all. Concreteness: not to evade issues, but to face what lies before us, even if it threatens to try us sorely or defeat us. Since the Incarnation, abstract-sounding realities like the mind of God, the will of God, etc., have become concrete in Christ. “You are the house whose foundations are the apostles and prophets, and whose cornerstone is Christ Jesus” (Eph 2:20).

Wednesday 6 December 2017

Saint Nicholas, Bishop

Entrance Antiphon : Cf. Hab 2: 3; 1 Cor 4: 5

The Lord will come and he will not delay.He will illumine what is hidden in darknessand reveal himself to all the nations.

Collect

Prepare our hearts, we pray, O Lord our God,by your divine power,so that at the coming of Christ your Sonwe may be found worthy of the banquet of eternal lifeand merit to receive heavenly nourishment from his hands.Who lives and reigns with you in the unity of the Holy Spirit,one God, for ever and ever.

First Reading : Isaiah 25:6-10

On this mountain, the Lord of hosts will prepare for all peoples a banquet of rich food, a banquet of fine wines, of food rich and juicy, of fine strained wines. On this mountain he will remove the mourning veil covering all peoples, and the shroud enwrapping all nations, he will destroy Death for ever. The Lord God will wipe away the tears from every cheek; he will take away his people’s shame everywhere on earth, for the Lord has said so. That day, it will be said: See, this is our God in whom we hoped for salvation; the Lord is the one in whom we hoped. We exult and we rejoice that he has saved us; for the hand of the Lord rests on this mountain.

Responsorial Psalm Ps 22

R/ In the Lord’s own house shall I dwell for ever and ever.

1.The Lord is my shepherd; there is nothing I shall want. Fresh and green are the pastures where he gives me repose. Near restful waters he leads me to revive my drooping spirit

2.He guides me along the right path; he is true to his name. If I should walk in the valley of darkness no evil would I fear. You are there with your crook and your staff; with these you give me comfort.

3.You have prepared a banquet for me in the sight of my foes. My head you have anointed with oil; my cup is overflowing.

4.Surely goodness and kindness shall follow me all the days of my life. In the Lord’s own house shall I dwell for ever and ever.

GOSPEL ACCLAMATION Is 33:22

Alleluia, alleluia!The Lord is our judge, the Lord our lawgiver, the Lord our king and saviour.Alleluia!

GOSPEL :  Matthew 15:29-37

Jesus reached the shores of the Sea of Galilee, and he went up into the hills. He sat there, and large crowds came to him bringing the lame, the crippled, the blind, the dumb and many others; these they put down at his feet, and he cured them. The crowds were astonished to see the dumb speaking, the cripples whole again, the lame walking and the blind with their sight, and they praised the God of Israel. But Jesus called his disciples to him and said, ‘I feel sorry for all these people; they have been with me for three days now and have nothing to eat. I do not want to send them off hungry, they might collapse on the way.’ The disciples said to him, ‘Where could we get enough bread in this deserted place to feed such a crowd?’ Jesus said to them, ‘How many loaves have you?’ ‘Seven’ they said ‘and a few small fish.’ Then he instructed the crowd to sit down on the ground, and he took the seven loaves and the fish, and he gave thanks and broke them and handed them to the disciples who gave them to the crowds. They all ate as much as they wanted, and they collected what was left of the scraps, seven baskets full.

Prayer over the Offerings

May the sacrifice of our worship, Lord, we pray,be offered to you unceasingly,to complete what was begun in sacred mysteryand powerfully accomplish for us your saving work.Through Christ our Lord.

Communion Antiphon : Cf. Is 40: 10; 35: 5

Behold, our Lord will come with powerand will enlighten the eyes of his servants.

Prayer after Communion

We implore your mercy, Lord,that this divine sustenancemay cleanse us of our faultsand prepare us for the coming feasts.Through Christ our Lord.

 

One of the most central themes that seam the messages of the advent season is that our God is universal God. The healings of Jesus in the Gospel reading do not distinguish between the Jews and non-Jews. All who came to Jesus in need of healing where healed. And in today’s reading from Isaiah, Yahweh moves beyond the circle of his intimates and issues a universal feast. He also removes the veil that veils all peoples. He does not discriminate between those loyal to him and those disloyal. He will also wipe the tears from the eyes of all. This is a summon to the universal eschatological banquet. In no other way is this banquet made more concrete for us than in the celebration of the Eucharist. Although this summon is sent out irrespective of our merits or demerits, there is an account to be rendered. When the adequate preparations for this banquet are not made, we may become like the proverbial man without the wedding garment of Mt 22:11-13. Let him who has ears listen.

Monday 04 December 2017

Entrance Antiphon: Cf. Jer 31: 10; Is 35: 4

Hear the word of the Lord, O nations;declare it to the distant lands:Behold, our Saviour will come; you need no longer fear.

Collect

Keep us alert, we pray, O Lord our God,as we await the advent of Christ your Son, so that, when he comes and knocks,he may find us watchful in prayerand exultant in his praise.Who lives and reigns with you in the unity of the Holy Spirit,one God, for ever and ever.

First reading : Isaiah 2:1-5

The vision of Isaiah son of Amoz, concerning Judah and Jerusalem.In the days to comethe mountain of the Temple of the Lordshall tower above the mountainsand be lifted higher than the hills.All the nations will stream to it,peoples without number will come to it; and they will say:‘Come, let us go up to the mountain of the Lord,to the Temple of the God of Jacobthat he may teach us his waysso that we may walk in his paths;since the Law will go out from Zion,and the oracle of the Lord from Jerusalem.’He will wield authority over the nationsand adjudicate between many peoples;these will hammer their swords into ploughshares, their spears into sickles. Nation will not lift sword against nation,there will be no more training for war. O House of Jacob, come,let us walk in the light of the Lord.

Psalm 121:1-2,4-5,6-9

R: I rejoiced when I heard them say: ‘Let us go to God’s house.’

  1. I rejoiced when I heard them say:‘Let us go to God’s house.’And now our feet are standingwithin your gates, O Jerusalem.
  2. It is there that the tribes go up,the tribes of the Lord.For Israel’s law it is,there to praise the Lord’s name.There were set the thrones of judgementof the house of David.
  3. For the peace of Jerusalem pray: ‘Peace be to your homes! May peace reign in your walls, in your palaces, peace!’
  4. For love of my brethren and friends I say: ‘Peace upon you!’For love of the house of the Lord I will ask for your good.

Gospel Acclamation: cf.Ps79:4

Alleluia, alleluia!God of hosts, bring us back:let your face shine on us and we shall be saved.Alleluia!

Gospel Matthew 8:5-11

When Jesus went into Capernaum a centurion came up and pleaded with him. ‘Sir,’ he said ‘my servant is lying at home paralysed, and in great pain.’ ‘I will come myself and cure him’ said Jesus. The centurion replied, ‘Sir, I am not worthy to have you under my roof; just give the word and my servant will be cured. For I am under authority myself, and have soldiers under me; and I say to one man: Go, and he goes; to another: Come here, and he comes; to my servant: Do this, and he does it.’ When Jesus heard this he was astonished and said to those following him, ‘I tell you solemnly, nowhere in Israel have I found faith like this. And I tell you that many will come from east and west to take their places with Abraham and Isaac and Jacob at the feast in the kingdom of heaven.’

Prayer over the Offerings

Accept, we pray, O Lord, these offerings we make,gathered from among your gifts to us,and may what you grant us to celebrate devoutly here belowgain for us the prize of eternal redemption.Through Christ our Lord.

Communion Antiphon: Cf. Ps 105: 4-5; Is 38: 3

Come, O Lord, visit us in peace,that we may rejoice before you with a blameless heart.

Prayer after Communion

May these mysteries, O Lord,in which we have participated,profit us, we pray,for even now, as we walk amid passing things,you teach us by themto love the things of heavenand hold fast to what endures.Through Christ our Lord.


Where do we begin in our preparation to encounter God? Today’s readings invite us to rethink our values. First, the God we worship is not a God of a particular race or tribe. This is shown clearly in the Gospel reading. The words of Jesus (8:10) contrasts the centurion to all in Israel with the stinging judgment that the children of the kingdom would be cast out into outer darkness (8:11-12; cp. 3:9; 22:13). This kind of dire warning may signal a preliminary stage to the universality of the kingdom. Hence, in this messianic age, a gentile can be a beneficiary provided he has faith as in the case of the centurion. Our God is universal and leads his children to universal friendship. It is only when this friendship is established that nation will no longer raise sword against nation nor learn war any more. But the current world situation tells us that this message of Isaiah has not been heeded. Nations do not only raise sword against nations, tribes in a nation raise sword against one another, families in a tribe against each other, members of a family against themselves. A kingdom divided against itself will surely collapse.

Tuesday 5 December 2017

Entrance Antiphon : Cf. Zec 14: 5, 7

Behold, the Lord will come, and all his holy ones with him;and on that day there will be a great light.

Collect

Look with favour, Lord God, on our petitions,and in our trials grant us your compassionate help,that, consoled by the presence of your Son,whose coming we now await,we may be tainted no longerby the corruption of former ways.Through our Lord Jesus Christ, your Son,who lives and reigns with you in the unity of the Holy Spirit,one God, for ever and ever.

First Reading :  Isaiah 11:1-10

A shoot springs from the stock of Jesse, a scion thrusts from his roots: on him the spirit of the Lord rests, a spirit of wisdom and insight, a spirit of counsel and power, a spirit of knowledge and of the fear of the Lord. (The fear of the Lord is his breath.) He does not judge by appearances, he gives no verdict on hearsay, but judges the wretched with integrity, and with equity gives a verdict for the poor of the land. His word is a rod that strikes the ruthless, his sentences bring death to the wicked. Integrity is the loincloth round his waist, faithfulness the belt about his hips. The wolf lives with the lamb, the panther lies down with the kid, calf and lion cub feed together with a little boy to lead them. The cow and the bear make friends, their young lie down together. The lion eats straw like the ox. The infant plays over the cobra’s hole; into the viper’s lair the young child puts his hand. They do no hurt, no harm, on all my holy mountain, for the country is filled with the knowledge of the Lord as the waters swell the sea. That day, the root of Jesse shall stand as a signal to the peoples. It will be sought out by the nations and its home will be glorious.

Responsorial Psalm Ps 71

R/In his days justice shall flourish and peace till the moon fails.

  1. O God, give your judgment to the king, to a king’s son your justice, that he may judge your people in justice and your poor in right judgment.
  2. In his days justice shall flourish and peace till the moon fails. He shall rule from sea to sea, from the Great River to earth’s bounds.
  3. For he shall save the poor when they cry and the needy who are helpless. He will have pity on the weak and save the lives of the poor.
  4. May his name be blessed for ever and endure like the sun. Every tribe shall be blessed in him, all nations bless his name.

GOSPEL ACCLAMATION Ps 84:8

Alleluia, alleluia!Let us see, O Lord, your mercy and give us your saving help.Alleluia!

GOSPEL : Luke 10:21-24

Filled with joy by the Holy Spirit, Jesus said, ‘I bless you, Father, Lord of heaven and of earth, for hiding these things from the learned and the clever and revealing them to mere children. Yes, Father, for that is what it pleased you to do. Everything has been entrusted to me by my Father; and no one knows who the Son is except the Father, and who the Father is except the Son and those to whom the Son chooses to reveal him.’ Then turning to his disciples he spoke to them in private, ‘Happy the eyes that see what you see, for I tell you that many prophets and kings wanted to see what you see, and never saw it; to hear what you hear, and never heard it.’

Prayer over the Offerings

Be pleased, O Lord, with our humble prayers and offerings,and, since we have no merits to plead our cause,come, we pray, to our rescuewith the protection of your mercy.Through Christ our Lord.

Communion Antiphon : Cf. 2 Tm 4: 8

The Just Judge will bestow a crown of righteousnesson those who eagerly await his coming.

 

Prayer after Communion

Replenished by the food of spiritual nourishment,we humbly beseech you, O Lord,that, through our partaking in this mystery,you may teach us to judge wisely the things of earthand hold firm to the things of heaven.Through Christ our Lord.

Today is a call not to lose sight of the promises of God. The people in exile are summoned by the Prophet Isaiah to consider the wonders of the Lord. The situation is bad, but there is a savior who is to free his people. Our salvation is at hand. But what kind of savior are we to await? He is a savior that judges with justice, with faithfulness and with righteousness. He is a model of good governance, where the poor receive fair judgment and equity is ensured. This is borne out of the conviction that there is no peace without justice. When there is justice amongst us, there will surely be peace. Then there will be no distinction between North and South, East or West. Is this feasible in our country? It is not by physical power, but by the spirit of the Lord and our personal cooperation with the Spirit.

2017 Dec03 SUN: FIRST SUNDAY OF ADVENT

Entrance Antiphon : Cf. Ps 24: 1-3

To you, I lift up my soul, O my God.In you, I have trusted; let me not be put to shame.Nor let my enemies exult over me;and let none who hope in you be put to shame.

Collect

Grant your faithful, we pray, almighty God,the resolve to run forth to meet your Christwith righteous deeds at his coming,so that, gathered at his right hand,they may be worthy to possess the heavenly kingdom.Through our Lord Jesus Christ, your Son,who lives and reigns with you in the unity of the Holy Spirit,one God, for ever and ever.

First readingIsaiah 63:16-17,64:1,3-8

You, Lord, yourself are our Father,‘Our Redeemer’ is your ancient name.Why, Lord, leave us to stray from your waysand harden our hearts against fearing you?Return, for the sake of your servants,the tribes of your inheritance.Oh, that you would tear the heavens open and come down!– at your Presence the mountains would melt.No ear has heard,no eye has seenany god but you act like thisfor those who trust him.You guide those who act with integrityand keep your ways in mind.You were angry when we were sinners;we had long been rebels against you.We were all like men unclean,all that integrity of ours like filthy clothing.We have all withered like leavesand our sins blew us away like the wind.No one invoked your nameor roused himself to catch hold of you.For you hid your face from usand gave us up to the power of our sins.And yet, Lord, you are our Father;we the clay, you the potter,we are all the work of your hand.

Psalm 79:2-3,15-16,18-19

Lord of hosts, bring us back; let your face shine on us and we shall be saved.

  1. O shepherd of Israel, hear us,shine forth from your cherubim throne.O Lord, rouse up your might,O Lord, come to our help.
  2. God of hosts, turn again, we implore,look down from heaven and see.Visit this vine and protect it,the vine your right hand has planted.
  3. May your hand be on the man you have chosen,the man you have given your strength.And we shall never forsake you again;give us life that we may call upon your name.

Second reading1 Corinthians 1:3-9

May God our Father and the Lord Jesus Christ send you grace and peace.I never stop thanking God for all the graces you have received through Jesus Christ. I thank him that you have been enriched in so many ways, especially in your teachers and preachers; the witness to Christ has indeed been strong among you so that you will not be without any of the gifts of the Spirit while you are waiting for our Lord Jesus Christ to be revealed; and he will keep you steady and without blame until the last day, the day of our Lord Jesus Christ, because God by calling you has joined you to his Son, Jesus Christ; and God is faithful.

Gospel AcclamationPs84:8

Alleluia, alleluia!Let us see, O Lord, your mercyand give us your saving help.Alleluia!

 

Gospel Mark 13:33-37

Jesus said to his disciples, ‘Be on your guard, stay awake, because you never know when the time will come. It is like a man travelling abroad: he has gone from home, and left his servants in charge, each with his own task; and he has told the doorkeeper to stay awake. So stay awake, because you do not know when the master of the house is coming, evening, midnight, cockcrow, dawn; if he comes unexpectedly, he must not find you asleep. And what I say to you I say to all: Stay awake!’

 

Prayer over the Offerings

Accept, we pray, O Lord, these offerings we make,gathered from among your gifts to us,and may what you grant us to celebrate devoutly here belowgain for us the prize of eternal redemption.Through Christ our Lord.

Communion Antiphon : Ps 84: 13

The Lord will bestow his bounty, and our earth shall yield its increase.

Prayer after Communion

May these mysteries, O Lord,in which we have participated,profit us, we pray,for even now, as we walk amid passing things,you teach us by them to love the things of heavenand hold fast to what endures.Through Christ our Lord.

On this Sunday we begin a new Church Year - year B - with the season of Advent. We are presented once again with the opportunity of re-orientation to our destiny. Welcome to a new liturgical year! The old year was just long enough! Thank God for the freshness of a new beginning! But what a terrifying beginning! The opening words of the gospel summarize the message of this season: "Be on your guard, stay awake, because you never know when the time will come". We are to be like faithful servants left with a task to accomplish. To the extent that we dedicate ourselves to the task the Master has left us, we await his coming not in fear of being surprised and of being judged, but in joyful anticipation. We are constantly ready to receive the Lord if we continuously live in his presence in prayerful dedication to his will.