Monday, 9 December 2019 : Solemnity of the Immaculate Conception of the Blessed Virgin Mary (Gospel Reading)

Liturgical Colour : White

Luke 1 : 26-38

In the sixth month, the Angel Gabriel was sent from God to a town of Galilee called Nazareth. He was sent to a young virgin, who was betrothed to a man named Joseph, of the family of David; and the virgin’s name was Mary.

The Angel came to her and said, “Rejoice, full of grace, the Lord is with you.” Mary was troubled at these words, wondering what this greeting could mean. But the Angel said, “Do not fear, Mary, for God has looked kindly on you. You shall conceive and bear a Son, and you shall call Him Jesus. He will be great, and shall rightly be called Son of the Most High. The Lord God will give Him the kingdom of David, His ancestor; He will rule over the people of Jacob forever, and His reign shall have no end.”

Then Mary said to the Angel, “How can this be, since I am a virgin?” And the Angel said to her, “The Holy Spirit will come upon you and the power of the Most High will overshadow you; therefore, the Holy Child to be born of you shall be called Son of God. Even your relative Elizabeth is expecting a son in her old age, although she was unable to have a child; and she is now in her sixth month. With God nothing is impossible.”

Then Mary said, “I am the handmaid of the Lord, let it be done to me as you have said.” And the Angel left her.

Monday, 9 December 2019 : Solemnity of the Immaculate Conception of the Blessed Virgin Mary (Second Reading)

Liturgical Colour : White

Ephesians 1 : 3-6, 11-12

Blessed be God, the Father of Christ Jesus our Lord, Who, in Christ, has blessed us from heaven, with every spiritual blessing. God chose us, in Christ, before the creation of the world, to be holy, and without sin in His presence.

From eternity He destined us, in love, to be His adopted sons and daughters, through Christ Jesus, thus fulfilling His free and generous will. This goal suited Him : that His loving-kindness, which He granted us in His beloved might finally receive all glory and praise.

By a decree of Him, Who disposes all things, according to His own plan and decision, we, the Jews, have been chosen and called, and we were awaiting the Messiah, for the praise of His glory.

Monday, 9 December 2019 : Solemnity of the Immaculate Conception of the Blessed Virgin Mary (Psalm)

Liturgical Colour : White

Psalm 97 : 1, 2-3ab, 3cd-4

Sing to YHVH a new song, for He has done wonders; His right hand, His holy arm, has won victory for Him.

YHVH has shown His salvation, revealing His justice to the nations. He has not forgotten His love, nor His faithfulness to Israel.

The farthest ends of the earth all have seen God’s saving power. All you, lands, make a joyful noise to YHVH, break into song and sing praise.

Monday, 9 December 2019 : Solemnity of the Immaculate Conception of the Blessed Virgin Mary (First Reading)

Liturgical Colour : White

Genesis 3 : 9-15, 20

YHVH God called the man saying to him, “Where are you?” He said, “I heard Your voice in the garden and I was afraid because I was naked, so I hid.” God said, “Who told you that you were naked? Have you eaten of the tree I ordered you not to eat?”

The man answered, “The woman You put with me gave me fruit from the tree and I ate it.” God said to the woman, “What have you done?” The woman said, “The serpent deceived me and I ate.”

YHVH God said to the serpent, “Since you have done that, be cursed among all the cattle and wild beasts! You will crawl on your belly and eat dust all the days of your life. I will make you enemies, you and the woman, your offspring and her offspring. He will crush your head and you will strike his heel.”

The man called his wife by the name of Eve, because she was the mother of all the living.

(Usus Antiquior) Immaculate Conception of the Blessed Virgin Mary (I Classis) – Monday, 9 December 2019 : Offertory, Secret Prayer of the Priest, Preface, Communion and Post-Communion Prayer

Liturgical Colour : White

Offertory

Luke 1 : 28

Ave, Maria, gratia plena; Dominus tecum : benedicta tu in mulieribus. Alleluja.

 

English translation

Hail, Mary, full of grace, the Lord is with you, blessed are you amongst women. Alleluia.

 

Secret Prayer of the Priest

Salutarem hostiam, quam in sollemnitate immaculatae Conceptionis beatae Virginis Mariae tibi, Domine, offerimus, suscipe et praesta : ut, sicut illam Tua gratia praeveniente ab omni labe immunem profitemur; ita ejus intercessione a culpis omnibus liberemur. Per Dominum nostrum Jesum Christum Filium Tuum, qui Tecum vivit et regnat in unitate Spiritus Sancti Deus, per omnia saecula saeculorum. Amen.

 

English translation

Receive, o Lord, the saving oblation which we offer You on the solemnity of the Immaculate Conception of the Blessed Virgin Mary, and grant that, as we confess her to have been preserved, by Your prevenient grace, from all taints of evil, so, through her intercession, we may be freed from all sins. 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.

 

Preface of the Blessed Virgin Mary

Vere dignum et justum est, aequum et salutare, nos Tibi semper et ubique gratias agere : Domine, Sancte Pater omnipotens, aeterne Deus : Et Te in sollemnitate sacratissimi Rosarii de Beatae Mariae semper Virginis collaudare, benedicere et praedicare. Quae et Unigenitum Tuum Sancti Spiritus obumbratione concepit : et, virginitatis gloria permanente, lumen aeternum mundo effudit, Jesum Christum, Dominum nostrum.

Per quem majestatem Tuam laudant Angeli, adorant Dominationes, tremunt Potestates. Caeli caelorumque Virtutes ac beata Seraphim socia exsultatione concelebrant. Cum quibus et nostras voces ut admitti jubeas, deprecamur, supplici confessione dicentes :

 

English translation

It is truly meet and just, right and availing unto salvation, that we should at all times and in all places give thanks to You, o Holy Lord, Father Almighty, Everlasting God, and on the solemnity of the most holy Rosary of the Blessed Mary, ever Virgin, should praise and bless and proclaim You. For she conceived Your only begotten Son by the overshadowing of the Holy Spirit, and not losing the glory of her virginity, gave to the world the everlasting Light, Jesus Christ our Lord.

He through Whom the angels praise Your majesty, the Dominations worship it, and the Powers are in awe. The heavens and the heavenly hosts, and the blessed Seraphim join together in celebrating their joy. With these we pray to You joining also our voices, while we say with lowly praise :

 

Communion

Tradition of the Faith

Gloriosa dicta sunt de te, Maria : quia fecit tibi magna qui potens est.

 

English translation

Glorious things are spoken of you, o Mary, for He who is mighty has done great things unto you.

 

Post-Communion Prayer

Sacramenta quae sumpsimus, Domine, Deus noster : illius in nobis culpae vulnera reparent; a qua immaculatam Beatae Mariae Conceptionem singulariter praeservasti. Per Dominum nostrum Jesum Christum Filium Tuum, qui Tecum vivit et regnat in unitate Spiritus Sancti Deus, per omnia saecula saeculorum. Amen.

 

English translation

May the sacrament which we have received, o Lord, our God, heal in us the wounds of that sin from which by a singular privilege, You had preserved immaculate the conception of Blessed Mary. 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) Immaculate Conception of the Blessed Virgin Mary (I Classis) – Monday, 9 December 2019 : Holy Gospel

Liturgical Colour : White

Sequentia Sancti Evangelii secundum Lucam – Continuation of the Holy Gospel according to St. Luke

Luke 1 : 26-28

In illo tempore : Missus est Angelus Gabriel a Deo in civitatem Galilaeae, cui nomen Nazareth, ad Virginem desponsatam viro, cui nomen erat Joseph, de domo David, et nomen Virginis Maria. Et ingressus Angelus ad eam, dixit : Ave, gratia plena; Dominus tecum : benedicta tu in mulieribus.

 

English translation

At that time, the Angel Gabriel was sent from God into a city of Galilee, called Nazareth, to a virgin espoused to a man whose name was Joseph, of the house of David, and the virgin’s name was Mary. And the Angel having come in, said unto her, “Hail, full of grace, the Lord is with you, blessed are you amongst women.”

(Usus Antiquior) Immaculate Conception of the Blessed Virgin Mary (I Classis) – Monday, 9 December 2019 : Gradual and Alleluia

Liturgical Colour : White

Judith 13 : 23 and Judith 15 : 10 and Canticles 4 : 7

Benedicta es tu, Virgo Maria, a Domino, Deo excelso, prae omnibus mulieribus super terram.

Response : Tu gloria Jerusalem, tu laetitia Israel, tu honorificentia populi nostri.

Alleluja, Alleluja.

Response : Tota pulchra es, Maria : et macula originalis non est in te, Alleluja.

 

English translation

Blessed are you, o Virgin Mary, by the Lord, the Most High God, above all women, upon the earth.

Response : You are the glory of Jerusalem, you are the joy of Israel, you are the honour of our people.

Alleluia, Alleluia.

Response : You are all fair, o Mary, and there is in you no stain of original sin. Alleluia.

(Usus Antiquior) Immaculate Conception of the Blessed Virgin Mary (I Classis) – Monday, 9 December 2019 : Epistle

Liturgical Colour : White

Lectio libri Sapientiae – Lesson from the Book of Wisdom

Proverbs 8 : 22-35

Dominus possedit me in initio viarum suarum, antequam faceret a principio. Ab aeterno ordinata sum, et ex antiquis, antequam terra fieret. Nondum erant abyssi, et ego jam concepta eram : necdum fontes aquarum eruperant : necdum montes gravi mole constiterant : ante colles ego parturiebar : adhuc terram non fecerat et flumina et cardines orbis terrae.

Quando praeparabat caelos, aderam : quando certa lege et gyro vallabat abyssos : quando aethera firmabat sursum et librabat fontes aquarum : quando circumdabat mari terminum suum et legem ponebat aquis, ne transirent fines suos : quando appendebat fundamenta terrae.

Cum eo eram cuncta componens : et delectabar per singulos dies, ludens coram eo omni tempore : ludens in orbe terrarum : et deliciae meae esse cum filiis hominum. Nunc ergo, filii, audite me : Beati, qui custodiunt vias meas. Audite disciplinam, et estote sapientes, et nolite abjicere eam.

Beatus homo, qui audit me et qui vigilat ad fores meas cotidie, et observat ad postes ostii mei. Qui me invenerit, inveniet vitam et hauriet salutem a Domino.

 

English translation

The Lord possessed Me in the beginning of His ways, before He made anything, from the beginning, I was set up from eternity, and of old, before the earth was made. The depths were not as yet, and I was already conceived, neither had the fountains of waters as yet sprung out, the mountains with their huge bulk had not as yet been established, before the hills I was brought forth. He had not yet made the earth, nor the rivers, nor the poles of the world.

When He prepared the Heavens, I was there, when with a certain law and compass, He enclosed the depths, when He established the sky above, and poised the fountains of waters, when He compassed the sea with its bounds, and set a law to the waters that they should not pass their limits, when He balanced the foundations of the earth.

I was with Him, forming all things, and was delighted every day, playing before Him at all times, playing in the world, and My delight is to be with the children of men. Now therefore, you children, hear Me : Blessed are those who keep My ways. Hear instruction, and be wise, and do not refuse it.

Blessed is the man who hears Me, and who watches daily at My gates, and waits at the posts of My doors. He who shall find Me, shall find life, and shall have salvation from the Lord.

(Usus Antiquior) Immaculate Conception of the Blessed Virgin Mary (I Classis) – Monday, 9 December 2019 : Introit and Collect

Liturgical Colour : White

Introit

Isaiah 61 : 10 and Psalm 29 : 2

Gaudens gaudebo in Domino, et exsultabit anima mea in Deo meo : quia induit me vestimentis salutis : et indumento justitiae circumdedit me, quasi sponsam ornatam monilibus suis.

Exaltabo Te, Domine, quoniam suscepisti me : nec delectasti inimicos meos super me.

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

 

English translation

I will greatly rejoice in the Lord, and my soul shall be joyful in my God, for He had clothed me with the garments of salvation, and with the robe of justice He had covered me, as a bride adorned with her jewels.

I will extol You, o Lord, for You have upheld me, and have not made my enemies to rejoice over me.

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

Deus, qui per immaculatam Virginis Conceptionem dignum Filio Tuo habitaculum praeparasti : quaesumus; ut, qui ex morte ejusdem Filii Tui praevisa eam ab omni labe praeservasti, nos quoque mundos ejus intercessione ad Te pervenire concedas. Per eumdem Dominum nostrum Jesum Christum Filium Tuum, qui Tecum vivit et regnat in unitate Spiritus Sancti Deus, per omnia saecula saeculorum. Amen.

 

English translation

O God, Who by the Immaculate Conception of the Virgin, had prepared a worthy dwelling for Your Son, we beseech You, that You, Who, by the death, foreseen by You, of the same Son, Your Son, had preserved her from all stain, will grant us also, by her intercession, to come to You pure in heart. Through the same Lord Jesus Christ, Your Son, who with You lives and reigns in the unity of the Holy Spirit, God, world without end. Amen.

Sunday, 8 December 2019 : Second Sunday of Advent (Homily and Scripture Reflections)

Liturgical Colour : Purple/Violet

Dear brothers and sisters in Christ, on this Sunday we celebrate the Second Sunday in the season of Advent, and as we continue to progress through this special and blessed time of preparation for the celebration of Christmas, we continue our Advent journey and this Sunday we focus on Peace, as the second in the four theme set for each of the Sundays of Advent. Peace is also a reference to Our Lord and Saviour’s title as the Prince of Peace, as it was prophesied that His coming would bring about true peace into this world.

And that is what has also been alluded to in our Scripture passages today, especially in our first reading today which was taken from the Book of the prophet Isaiah. In that portion of the Book, the prophet Isaiah was speaking of the prophecies of the time of the coming of the Saviour or God’s Messiah, of the coming of the time of peace so wonderful and great that even ferocious animals would come and sit together with their prey in harmony.

This message of peace must have been truly satisfactory and pleasing to the people of Isaiah’s time, considering that at that time, as it was often in the past, mankind have often been involved in conflicts and wars, and many had to suffer because of those conflicts, losing family members and loved ones, losing their properties, houses and possessions, being looted and having to see their cities, towns and villages destroyed.

All these had been how the world went by since the beginning of time, as the powerful and mighty preyed on the weak, and how the rich and influential ones manipulated and exploited the poor ones. Suffering, pain and sorrow that were created can indeed be traced to how we mankind abused the free will that God has bestowed on us, as we chose to act in ways that seek our own satisfaction and happiness, to fulfil our needs and desires and if need be, over the suffering of others.

That is why peace has often eluded many of us all these time because we are by our nature selfish, because of our disobedience and sins, the corruption of sin which led us to think about ourselves first and not about what others think or need. That was how wars had been fought over resources, prestige, glory, and the many other worldly things we often seek in life. When peoples and nations, their leaders and all those involved in the conflicts seek to gain things for themselves and not minding the needs and happiness of others, that is why people suffer and peace is broken.

If we look at our world today, peace is more elusive than ever, as there are more and more parties in conflict and fighting against each others, groups being set against each other and divided against themselves. Governments and kingdoms are set against one another, setting up groups and alliances working to thwart their opponents and their goals. We also see how civil wars and conflicts arise from time to time, again and again, and even many instances when governments are brought down by divisions and wrecked by infighting.

And all these while, the Prince of Peace, Our Lord Jesus Christ has been present in this world ever since He came to our midst over two millennia ago, in the small town of Bethlehem, when He came proclaiming the coming of the Lord’s true peace. Yet, if we realise, that He has often been ignored by mankind, rejected and unwanted, as the world continued on with mankind’s relentless pursuits of maintaining their selfish desires and wants. He has spoken the truth to us, and yet, He was silenced, put to suffer and die on the Cross by those who hated and opposed Him.

That was what the many prophets and messengers of God had also suffered from, and in the Gospel passage today, we also heard how the one who was the Herald of the Messiah, St. John the Baptist, also suffered from the same rejection and oppression the Lord has suffered. Many prophets of the Lord had suffered and had to endure scorn and ridicule just because they stood by the missions which God has entrusted to them.

We heard how despite all the works that this faithful servant of God had done, his courageous faith and effort in calling many people to repent from their sins and wickedness, the Pharisees and the teachers of the Law still opposed the saint and made it hard for him, doubting him and refusing to believe in the words he had spoken, and even doubting him and the authenticity of what he had done and spoken before the people.

That is exactly why the Lord was unable to make any progress with those who still attached themselves to worldly thoughts and desires, those who allowed their selfishness and pride, their greed and their attachments to the world to close their hearts and minds against the Lord’s truth and love. And that was how the true peace of God remain elusive for many of us, as it had been for millennia, as most of us did not truly welcome the Prince of Peace into our lives and into our hearts.

In our second reading today, St. Paul wrote to the Church in Rome and spoke of the peace of Christ and how the coming of the Lord into the world has brought forth the dawn of a new era of peace. And St. Paul also exhorted the faithful there to welcome one another and to make peace with each other, just as the Lord Jesus has brought the peace of God into the midst of the people He has touched, and thereafter passed on that same peace to those whom He has commissioned and called.

In Rome at that time, which was the cosmopolitan and populous capital of the mighty and expansive Roman Empire, there were numerous peoples of different origins and backgrounds, of different cultures and traditions, as besides the Romans who were the lords of the land, there were also Greeks, Syrians, Jewish populations, Gauls, Germans, the peoples of the Northern African regions, Thracians, Dacians, Berbers, Arabs, Persians and even many others, of many different nations and languages.

Many of these people did not exist peacefully with each other, and it did not help that many among the non-Roman populations, especially in the city of Rome, were slaves. And the Romans were the largest landowners and also slave owners. Even among the Romans themselves there were often wide disparity in the wealth and property they owned, and all these divisions and categorisations among the peoples often led to conflict and unhappiness.

And the Christian faith interestingly managed to bridge these differences even in the earliest days of the Church. St. Paul was in fact exhorting and reminding the faithful to put aside their differences, whatever past animosities and unhappiness they might have had towards each other previously and instead focus themselves on peace, and to live with one another harmoniously, bonded together by a new bond of love born from God. This is how God’s coming into the world has therefore transformed His people, from people divided by many differences and identities, into a united people by faith.

Division and conflict is typical of mankind corrupted and afflicted by sin, but as God entered into our lives and touched us, peace also entered into our midst. The question now is, are we allowing God to enter into our lives and transform us with His love, peace and goodness? Are we open in our minds and hearts to embrace the peace of God in our lives? The fact and reality is that as long as we remain attached to our many worldly desires, remaining selfish and self-centred, proud and egoistic, it will be difficult for us to find true peace in our lives.

Therefore, brothers and sisters in Christ, on this Christmas we are all challenged to return to the true essence of Christmas, and that is welcoming Christ, our Lord and Saviour into our lives, so that we may truly live in harmony, peace and love with one another. This is what Christmas is all about, and what we should prepare ourselves for in this blessed season and time of Advent.

Instead of focusing on excessive festivities and parties, merrymaking and joy without truly understanding why we celebrate Christmas in the first place, let us all bring our joy and celebrations by first of all, making peace with all those whom we have probably been angry with, feuding with all these while. Let us all learn to forgive one another, just as the Lord Himself has forgiven us all first from our sins. This is how we bring peace into our lives, and only with peace then we can truly celebrate Christmas in its fullness.

Let us all be peacemakers and strive to live in harmony and unity with one another. Let us all strive to die to our pride and to remove from us the traces of ego and selfishness, and instead allow God to enter into our lives and transform us, so that through all of us and our good works, peace and harmony will reign once again in our world wrecked by wars and conflicts. Let us all bring the Peace of Christmas to everyone, beginning from ourselves and our own families, and then to our communities and then to all the peoples of this world.

May the Lord, Our Prince of Peace give us His peace, that we may come to celebrate this Christmas joyfully as one people, no longer bickering and fighting over trivial matters of the world. Let us all be genuinely concerned of one another and show genuine love in our actions and interactions with each other. May God bless us always as we continue through this blessed season of Advent and guide us in our journey of faith, now and forevermore. Amen.