Sunday, 5 December 2021 : Second Sunday of Advent (Gospel Reading)

Liturgical Colour : Purple/Violet

Luke 3 : 1-6

It was the fifteenth year of the rule of the Emperor Tiberius : Pontius Pilatus was governor of Judea; Herod ruled over Galilee, his brother Philip ruled over the country of Iturea and Trachonitis: and Lysanias ruled over Abilene. Annas and Caiaphas were the High Priests at the time when the word of God came to John, the son of Zechariah, in the desert.

John proclaimed a baptism, for repentant people to obtain forgiveness of sins; and he went through the whole country bordering the Jordan River. It was just as is written in the book of the prophet Isaiah : Listen to this voice crying out in the desert, ‘Prepare the way of the Lord, make His path straight! The valleys will be filled and the mountains and hills made low. Everything crooked will be made straight and the rough paths smooth; and every human being will see the salvation of God!’

Sunday, 5 December 2021 : Second Sunday of Advent (Second Reading)

Liturgical Colour : Purple/Violet

Philippians 1 : 4-6, 8-11

And when I pray for you, I pray with joy. I cannot forget all of you shared with me in the service of the Gospel, from the first day, until now. Since God began such a good work, in you, I am certain, that He will complete it in the day of Christ Jesus.

God knows, that I love you dearly, with the love of Christ Jesus, and in my prayers, I ask that your love may lead you, each day, to a deeper knowledge and clearer discernment, that you may have good criteria for everything. So you may be pure of heart, and come, blameless, to the day of Christ, filled with the fruit of holiness, that comes through Christ Jesus, for the glory and praise of God.

Sunday, 5 December 2021 : Second Sunday of Advent (Psalm)

Liturgical Colour : Purple/Violet

Psalm 125 : 1-2ab, 2cd-3, 4-5, 6

When YHVH brought the exiles back to Zion, we were like those moving in a dream. Then, our mouths were filled with laughter, and our tongues with songs of joy.

Among the nations it was said, “YHVH has done great things for them.” YHVH had done great things for us, and we were glad indeed.

Bring back our exiles, o YHVH, like fresh streams in the desert. Those who sow in tears will reap with songs and shouts of joy.

They went forth weeping, bearing the seeds for sowing, they will come home with joyful shouts, bringing their harvested sheaves.

Sunday, 5 December 2021 : Second Sunday of Advent (First Reading)

Liturgical Colour : Purple/Violet

Baruch 5 : 1-9

Jerusalem, put off your garment of mourning and unhappiness, put on the splendour and glory of God forever. Wrap yourself in the mantle of holiness that comes from God, put on your head the crown of glory of the Eternal One. For God will show your splendour to every being under heaven. He will call your name forever, “peace in justice” and “glory in the fear of the Lord.”

Rise up, Jerusalem, stand on the heights. Look towards the east and see your children gathered together from the setting of the sun to its rising, by the voice of the Holy One, rejoicing because God has remembered them. They left you on foot, taken away by the enemy. God will lead them back, carried gloriously like royal princes.

For God has resolved to bring low every high mountain and the everlasting hills, to fill up the valleys and level out the ground, in order that Israel may walk in safety under the glory of God. Even the forests and the fragrant trees will give shade to Israel at God’s command. For God will lead Israel with joy by the light of His glory, escorting them with His mercy and justice.

(Usus Antiquior) Second Sunday of Advent (I Classis) – Sunday, 5 December 2021 : Offertory, Secret Prayer of the Priest, Communion and Post-Communion Prayer

Liturgical Colour : Violet

Offertory

Psalm 84 : 7-8

Deus, Tu conversus vivificabis nos, et plebs Tua laetabitur in Te : ostende nobis, Domine, misericordiam Tuam, et salutare Tuum da nobis.

English translation

O God, turning, You will bring us life, and Your people shall rejoice in You. Show us, o Lord, Your mercy and grant us Your salvation.

Secret Prayer of the Priest

Placare, quaesumus, Domine, humilitatis nostrae precibus et hostiis : et, ubi nulla suppetunt suffragia meritorum, Tuis nobis succurre praesidiis. Per Dominum nostrum Jesum Christum Filium Tuum, qui Tecum vivit et regnat in unitate Spiritus Sancti Deus, per omnia saecula saeculorum. Amen.

English translation

Be appeased, we beseech You, o Lord, by the prayers and offerings of our lowliness, and where no support of merits is at hand, do You hasten to us with Your aid. Through our Lord Jesus Christ, Your Son, who with You lives and reigns in the unity of the Holy Spirit, God, world without end. Amen.

Communion

Baruch 5 : 5 and Baruch 4 : 36

Jerusalem, surge et sta in excelso, et vide jucunditatem, quae veniet tibi a Deo tuo.

English translation

Arise, o Jerusalem, and stand on high, and behold the joy that comes to you from your God.

Post-Communion Prayer

Repleti cibo spiritualis alimoniae, supplices Te, Domine, deprecamur : ut, hujus participatione mysterii, doceas nos terrena despicere et amare caelestia. Per Dominum nostrum Jesum Christum Filium Tuum, qui Tecum vivit et regnat in unitate Spiritus Sancti Deus, per omnia saecula saeculorum. Amen.

English translation

Filled with the food of spiritual nourishing, we humbly beseech You, o Lord, that by our partaking of this mystery You would teach us to condemn earthly and love heavenly things. Through our Lord Jesus Christ, Your Son, who with You lives and reigns in the unity of the Holy Spirit, God, world without end. Amen.

(Usus Antiquior) Second Sunday of Advent (I Classis) – Sunday, 5 December 2021 : Holy Gospel

Liturgical Colour : Violet

Sequentia Sancti Evangelii secundum Matthaeum – Continuation of the Holy Gospel according to St. Matthew

Matthew 11 : 2-10

In illo tempore : Cum audisset Joannes in vinculis opera Christi, mittens duos de discipulis Suis, ait illi : Tu es, qui venturus es, an alium exspectamus? Et respondens Jesus, ait illis : Euntes renuntiate Joanni, quae audistis et vidistis.

Caeci vident, claudi ambulant, leprosi mundantur, surdi audiunt, mortui resurgunt, pauperes evangelizantur. : et beatus est, qui non fuerit scandalizatus in me. Illis autem abeuntibus, coepit Jesus dicere ad turbas de Joanne : Quid existis in desertum videre? Arundinem vento agitatam? Sed quid existis videre? Hominem mollibus vestitum? Ecce, qui mollibus vestiuntur, in domibus regum sunt.

Sed quid existis videre? Prophetam? Etiam dico vobis, et plus quam Prophetam. Hic est enim, de quo scriptum est : Ecce, ego mitto Angelum meum ante faciam Tuam, qui praeparabit viam Tuam ante Te.

English translation

At that time when John had heard in prison the works of Christ, sending two of his disciples, he said to Him : “Are You He Who is to come, or do we look for another?” And Jesus making answer, said to them, “Go and relate to John what you have heard and seen.”

“The blind see, the lame walk, the lepers are cleansed, the deaf hear, the dead rise again, the poor have the Gospel preached to them, and blessed is he who shall not be scandalised in Me.” And when they went their way, Jesus began to say to the multitudes concerning John, “What did you go out into the desert to see? A man clothed in soft garments? Behold those who are clothed in soft garments are in the houses of kings.”

“But what did you go out to see? A prophet? Yea, I tell you, and more than a prophet. For this is he of whom it is written, ‘Behold, I send My Angel before Your face, who shall prepare Your way before You.’.

(Usus Antiquior) Second Sunday of Advent (I Classis) – Sunday, 5 December 2021 : Gradual and Alleluia

Liturgical Colour : Violet

Psalm 49 : 2-3, 5 and Psalm 121 : 1

Ex Sion species decoris ejus : Deus manifeste veniet.

Response : Congregate illi sanctos Ejus, qui ordinaverunt testamentum Ejus super sacrificia.

Alleluja, Alleluja.

Response : Laetatus sum in his, quae dicta sunt mihi : in domum Domini ibimus. Alleluja.

English translation

Out of Zion the loveliness of His beauty, God shall come manifestly.

Response : Gather all of you together His saints to Him, who have set His covenant before sacrifices.

Alleluia, Alleluia.

Response : I rejoiced at the things that were said to me, we shall go into the house of the Lord. Alleluia.

(Usus Antiquior) Second Sunday of Advent (I Classis) – Sunday, 5 December 2021 : Epistle

Liturgical Colour : Violet

Lectio Epistolae Beati Pauli Apostoli ad Romanos – Lesson from the Epistle of Blessed Paul the Apostle to the Romans

Romans 15 : 4-13

Fratres : Quaecumque scripta sunt, ad nostram doctrinam scripta sunt : ut per patientiam et consolationem Scripturarum spem habeamus. Deus autem patientiae et solacii det vobis idipsum sapere in alterutrum secundum Jesum Christum : ut unanimes, uno ore honorificetis Deum et Patrem Domini nostri Jesu Christi.

Propter quod suscipite invicem, sicut et Christus suscepit vos in honorem Dei. Dico enim Christum Jesum ministrum fuisse circumcisionis propter veritatem Dei, ad confirmandas promissionem patrum : gentes autem super misericordia honorare Deum, sicut scriptum est : Propterea confitebor Tibi in gentibus, Domine, et Nomini Tuo cantabo.

Et iterum dicit : Laetamini, gentes, cum plebe ejus. Et iterum : Laudate, omnes gentes, Dominum : et magnificate eum, omnes populi. Et rursus Isaias ait : Erit radix Jesse, et qui exsurget regere gentes, in eum gentes sperabunt. Deus autem spei repleat vos omni gaudio et pace in credendo : ut abundetis in spe et virtute Spiritus Sancti.

English translation

Brethren, what things so ever were written, were written for our learning, that through patience and the comfort of the Scriptures we might have hope. Now the God of patience and of comfort grant you to be of one mind, toward one another, according to Jesus Christ, that with one mind, and with one mouth, you may glorify God and the Father of our Lord Jesus Christ.

Wherefore receive one another, as Christ had also received you, unto the honour of God. For I say that Christ Jesus was minister of the circumcision for the truth of God, to confirm the promises made unto the fathers. But that the Gentiles are to glorify God for His mercy, as it is written : “Therefore, I will confess to You, o Lord, among the Gentiles, and I will sing to Your Name.”

And again He said : “Rejoice, you Gentiles, with His people.” And again : “Praise the Lord, all you Gentiles, and magnify Him, all you people.” And again, Isaiah said : “There shall be a root of Jesse, and He Who shall rise up to rule the Gentiles, in Him the Gentiles shall hope.” Now the God of hope fill you with all joy and peace in believing, that you may abound in hope, and in the power of the Holy Spirit.

(Usus Antiquior) Second Sunday of Advent (I Classis) – Sunday, 5 December 2021 : Introit and Collect

Liturgical Colour : Violet

Introit

Isaiah 30 : 30 and Psalm 79 : 2

Populus Sion, ecce, Dominus veniet ad salvandas gentes : et auditam faciet Dominus gloriam vocis suae in laetitia cordis vestri.

Qui Regis Israel, intende : qui deducis, velut ovem, Joseph.

Response : Gloria Patri et Filio et Spiritui Sancto, sicut erat in principio, et nunc, et semper : et in saecula saeculorum. Amen.

English translation

People of Zion, behold, the Lord shall come to save the nations, and the Lord shall make the glory of His voice to be heard in the joy of your heart.

Give ear, o You Who rule Israel, You Who lead Joseph like a sheep.

Response : Glory be to the Father and to the Son and to the Holy Spirit, as it was in the beginning, is now, and ever shall be, world without end. Amen.

Collect

Excita, Domine, corda nostra ad praeparandas Unigeniti Tui vias : ut, per ejus adventum, purificatis Tibi mentibus servire mereamur : Qui Tecum vivis et regnas in unitate Spiritus Sancti Deus, per omnia saecula saeculorum. Amen.

English translation

Stir up our hearts, o Lord, to prepare the ways of Your only begotten Son, that through His coming we may be worthy to serve You with purified minds. You Who lives and reigns in the unity of the Holy Spirit, God, world without end. Amen.

Saturday, 4 December 2021 : 1st Week of Advent, Memorial of St. John Damascene, Priest and Doctor of the Church (Homily and Scripture Reflections)

Liturgical Colour : Purple/Violet or White (Priests)

Dear brothers and sisters in Christ, today as we listened to the words of the Scripture passages we are all called to reflect on those words we received and which we have heard, that we may continue to hold on to the hope we have in the Lord, in His light and truth, and in our genuine desire to be reconciled and be reunited with Him. We are all called to focus our attention on the Lord as we continue to progress through this season of Advent, this blessed time of preparation and renewal that is meant for us to rediscover our faith in the Lord.

We heard in our first reading today the words of the Lord through His prophet Isaiah, in which He spoke of the coming of the good times in the future, the time of His providence and reckoning. God spoke to His people reassuring them on the coming of the days of rest after the long periods of challenges and trials. The Lord will bless all those who have persevered in their faith and those who have devoted their time and effort to love Him and to commit themselves to the works that the Lord has entrusted to them.

Contextually, the people of God at the time of the prophet Isaiah as I mentioned before earlier in the week, had been suffering humiliation, oppressions and challenges from the pressures exerted by the great powers of the region, their neighbouring states and others because of their disobedience, wickedness and lack of faith in God. Those sufferings were the just consequences of their wrongdoings and their fortunes then were at an all-time low. But God did not abandon them and still cared for them.

That was why He sent prophets and messengers to them, to show them the way and to lead and guide them through their journey so that they may know how to find their way to the Lord. God revealed to them that in the end, His love for them shall endure and they shall see His great love being shown at the end. The people of God shall not be disappointed if they place their faith in God, unlike if they place their faith in the worldly things which they hope to give them consolation and support. That is because His promise and grace is everlasting while the world is not.

In today’s Gospel passage we have also heard the Lord carrying out His works and missions all over the whole land, performing miracles, healing many people who came to Him, caring for the needs of those who were searching for fulfilment and longing for His truth. He spent much time and many hours among all of them, showing them how much God loved them and committed Himself to them. The Lord truly remembered His people and cared for them despite their infidelities and wickedness. He has always been patient in reaching out to them and wanting to be reconciled with them.

He mentioned how the harvests of the Lord were plentiful but there were few labourers to collect them. And what does this mean, brothers and sisters in Christ? It means that in this world, there are numerous opportunities for us to bring forth the truth of God, His light and hope among many of those who still remain lost to the Lord. God has bestowed on us all Christians with the truth, and He has shown us what it means to be beloved by Him, and it is up to us to do as He has taught us to do.

Many people have yet to believe in God simply because in many of us who are Christians and consider ourselves as such have not truly believed in God ourselves, in our words, thoughts and actions, many of which have shown lack of faith and even things that are contrary to the Divine truth and love of God. This is why we often ended up causing others to turn away from God and even have misunderstandings of God’s works and truths in this world.

Brothers and sisters in Christ, all of us are called to be missionaries and good examples of our Christian faith in our respective societies and communities. Through us and our actions, God reveals His truth to more and more people, and with that, He may touch the hearts and souls of many more people that they may be stirred to follow Him and entrust themselves to Him. And the same can be said to all of us as well, especially those among us who are lukewarm in our faith.

Today, all of us can also look upon the good examples set by our holy predecessor, St. John of Damascus, also known as St. John Damascene. St. John of Damascus was a renowned Church father and theologian, a monk and teacher of the faith who was well-known for his commitment to God, his piety and dedication to the Lord. St. John of Damascus was credited with a lot of works on treatises of the many aspects of the faith, on our relationship with God, the love and actions of God, as well as the nature of the Holy Trinity and others.

St. John of Damascus was remembered for his great holiness, his love for God and also concern and compassion for his fellow brethren. He was indeed a role model for many Christians through his words, works, actions and many other examples of his virtues. He was also most influential in the opposition against then raging heresy of iconoclasm which was supported by the Emperor of the Roman Empire and the highest echelons of those who were in power, even among the clergy.

Through his passionate defence of the truth of God, his commitment to God and his truth, his tireless efforts and works, among all the many other contributions he had made, we all can see how we ourselves can become model Christians ourselves, in what we do, in what we act and say, so that in all things, we may indeed be exemplary and be inspiration to others just as how St. John of Damascus is an inspiration to us and many others out there.

Let us all seek the Lord, our loving God with renewed faith and zeal. Let us all grow ever more in faith and devotion, following the great examples set before us by St. John of Damascus and the many other holy men and women of God. May the Lord be with us all in our journey and may we all put our trust more in Him, Who alone is our hope and light. Amen.