Sunday, 8 December 2019 : Second Sunday of Advent (Gospel Reading)

Liturgical Colour : Purple/Violet

Matthew 3 : 1-12

In the course of time John the Baptist appeared in the desert of Judea and began to proclaim his message, “Change your ways, the kingdom of God is now at hand!” It was about him that the prophet Isaiah had spoken when he said : A voice is shouting in the desert, ‘Prepare a way for the Lord, make His paths straight!'”

John had a leather garment around his waist and wore a cloak of camel’s hair; his food was locusts and wild honey. People came to him from Jerusalem, from all Judea and from the whole Jordan valley, and they were baptised by him in the Jordan as they confessed their sins.

When he saw several Pharisees and Sadducees coming to where he baptised, he said to them, “Brood of vipers! Who told you that you could escape the punishment that is to come? Let it be seen that you are serious in your conversion, and do not think : We have Abraham for our father. I tell you that God can raise children for Abraham from these stones! The axe is already laid to the roots of the trees; any tree that does not produce good fruit will be cut down and thrown in the fire.”

“I baptise you in water for a change of heart, but the One Who is coming after me is more powerful than me; indeed I am not worthy to carry His sandals. He will baptise you in Holy Spirit and fire. He has the winnowing fan in His hand and He will clear out His threshing floor. He will gather His wheat into the barn, but the chaff He will burn in everlasting fire.”

Sunday, 8 December 2019 : Second Sunday of Advent (Second Reading)

Liturgical Colour : Purple/Violet

Romans 15 : 4-9

And we know that whatever was written in the past was written for our instruction, for both perseverance and comfort given us by the Scripture sustain our hope. May God, the source of all perseverance and comfort, give to all of you to live in peace in Christ Jesus, that you may be able to praise in one voice God, Father of Christ Jesus, our Lord.

Welcome, then, one another, as Christ welcomed you for the glory of God. Look : Christ put Himself at the service of the Jewish world to fulfil the promises made by God to their ancestors; here you see God’s faithfulness. The pagans instead give thanks to God for His mercy, as Scripture says : Because of that, I will sing and praise Your Name among the pagans.

Sunday, 8 December 2019 : Second Sunday of Advent (Psalm)

Liturgical Colour : Purple/Violet

Psalm 71 : 2, 7-8, 12-13, 17

May He rule Your people justly and defend the rights of the lowly.

Justice will flower in His days, and peace abound till the moon be no more. For He reigns from sea to sea, from the River to the ends of the earth.

He delivers the needy who call on Him, the afflicted with no one to help them. His mercy is upon the weak and the poor, He saves the life of the poor.

May His Name endure forever; may His Name be as lasting as the sun. All the races will boast about Him, and He will be blessed by all nations.

Sunday, 8 December 2019 : Second Sunday of Advent (First Reading)

Liturgical Colour : Purple/Violet

Isaiah 11 : 1-10

From the stump of Jesse a Shoot will come forth; from his roots a Branch will grow and bear fruit. The Spirit of the Lord will rest upon Him – a Spirit of wisdom and understanding, a Spirit of counsel and power, a Spirit of knowledge and fear of YHVH.

Not by appearances will He judge, nor by what is said must He decide, but with justice He will judge the poor and with righteousness decide for the meek. Like a rod, His word will strike the oppressor, and the breath of His lips slay the wicked. Justice will be the girdle of His waist, truth the girdle of His loins.

The wolf will dwell with the lamb, the leopard will rest beside the kid, the calf and the lion cub will feed together and a little child will lead them. Befriending each other, the cow and the bear will see their young ones lie down together. Like cattle, the lion will eat hay. By the cobra’s den the infant will play. The child will put his hand into the viper’s lair. No one will harm or destroy over My holy mountain, for as water fills the sea the earth will be filled with the knowledge of YHVH.

On that day the “Root of Jesse” will be raised as a signal for the nations. The people will come in search of Him, thus making His dwelling place glorious.

(Usus Antiquior) Second Sunday of Advent (I Classis) – Sunday, 8 December 2019 : 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, 8 December 2019 : 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, 8 December 2019 : 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, 8 December 2019 : 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, 8 December 2019 : 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, 7 December 2019 : 1st Week of Advent, Memorial of St. Ambrose, Bishop and Doctor of the Church (Homily and Scripture Reflections)

Liturgical Colour : Purple/Violet or White (Bishops)

Dear brothers and sisters in Christ, on this day as we continue to progress through the season of Advent, we are all reminded both of God’s enduring love for each and every one of us, as well as how at the same time each and every one of us also have the mission and responsibility to fulfil what God has entrusted to us. All of us as Christians have received God’s salvation through Jesus Christ, His Son, and through the Apostles, have been commissioned to go forth to the nations to spread the Good News and to baptise all in the Name of the Father, Son and the Holy Spirit.

In our Gospel passage today, the Lord Jesus spoke to His disciples about how the harvests of the Lord were already abundant and yet, there were not enough workers in the field of the Lord that were available to gather the harvest. This was actually a reference to how the world, mankind of many nations especially the Israelites have been prepared for a long time by the Lord through the prophets and messengers that God has sent to them.

Those faithful servants of the Lord had delivered the messages and the truths from God that they have been entrusted with, and therefore the seeds of faith had been sowed in the people of God of various races, backgrounds and origins. However, the fullness of the truth had not been revealed to them all, and the people only had part of the knowledge of the truth. It was not until the coming of the Messiah that the fullness of truth was revealed to God’s people.

The Lord Jesus, the Saviour of the world Who came as the Lord Himself has promised was born of the House of David and from among the children of Abraham to fulfil what God has promised through His prophets and messengers, and to fulfil what the Lord has made in the Covenant between Him and His people Israel. But through this also, God wanted us all to know that His salvation, love and grace is not just reserved to the Israelites but to every children of mankind.

Yet, as mentioned, there is a lack of workers to gather the rich harvest of the Lord, as the Lord’s rich harvest is available and yet the willingness of those whom God has called to be the ones to bear the works of God has been lacking. God has called and chosen from among the people all those whom He has deemed to be worthy to serve Him and to be His witnesses among the nations. They were His Apostles and the disciples, through whom God called even more from among the nations to be His people.

The Lord reveals His truth to all of us, the truth about His love and His salvation, how He wants all of His people to be saved from certain destruction because of their sins and disobedience. He showed us all the way of the truth, to guide the wayward children of God back to their Father and Creator. This is not an easy task, as the Apostles and their successors had shown us through their lives and works. Throughout the centuries and the long history of the Church, we have seen so many of God’s faithful servants suffering and being rejected by those to whom they had laboured to bring the words and truth of God to.

Yet, they all persevered and worked even harder to complete the missions that God has entrusted to them. The Apostles and their successors and many among our holy predecessors, the many saints and martyrs of the Church responded positively to God’s call to service and allowed God to work through them. And today we honour the memory of St. Ambrose, the renowned Bishop of Milan and a truly prominent Church father and leader of the Church of his contemporary time.

St. Ambrose was once the governor and ruler of the northern Italian provinces of the Roman Empire and was a well-respected and liked leader, who helped to settle issues among the people and had many other accomplishments that made it such that when there was a bitter conflict in the succession to the position of the Bishop of Milan between the Orthodox and Arian parties of the Church, the whole assembly of the faithful agreed by acclamation to choose St. Ambrose as the Bishop of Milan even though he was then still a layman.

Thenceforth, St. Ambrose dedicated his life to the new calling as the shepherd of the faithful in Milan and as one of the most influential Church leaders of his time. St. Ambrose had Emperors of the Roman Empire under his care, especially the then young Emperor, against especially the Arians who wanted to subvert the faithful and the Church to their false and heretical teachings. St. Ambrose stood by his faith and was fearless in his faith and dedication to God.

It was told even that St. Ambrose excommunicated Emperor Theodosius the Great, the last great Emperor of the united Roman Empire, for his premeditated role in the massacre of the city of Thessalonica. Such was the courage and strength of St. Ambrose that the Emperor had to succumb and to agree to a public penance and profession of faith before the assembly of the faithful before he was allowed to return to the Church.

Brothers and sisters in Christ, having heard of the examples set by St. Ambrose, a holy and faithful servant of God, shall we ourselves also follow in his footsteps and serve the Lord faithfully in the same way? Shall we also respond positively and dedicatedly to the call of the Lord to follow Him with all of our hearts and with all of our strength from now on?

May the Lord give us all the strength to follow Him in the path that He has shown us all, and let us all do our very best, giving our wholehearted effort, focus and attention to serve the Lord at all times for His greater glory. Let us all strive to be true Christians in everything we say and do so that through us, God may be glorified and that He may be present in the hearts and minds of many more of those whom God had called to be His beloved people. Amen.