Sunday, 12 December 2021 : Third Sunday of Advent, Gaudete Sunday (Second Reading)

Liturgical Colour : Rose (Gaudete Sunday) or Purple/Violet

Philippians 4 : 4-7

Rejoice in the Lord, always! I say it again : rejoice, and may everyone experience your gentle and understanding heart. The Lord is near : do not be anxious about anything. In everything, resort to prayer and supplication, together, with thanksgiving, and bring your requests before God.

Then, the peace of God, which surpasses all understanding, will keep your hearts and minds in Christ Jesus.

Sunday, 12 December 2021 : Third Sunday of Advent, Gaudete Sunday (Psalm)

Liturgical Colour : Rose (Gaudete Sunday) or Purple/Violet

Isaiah 12 : 2-3, 4bcd, 5-6

He is the God of my salvation; in Him I trust and am not afraid, YHVH is my strength : Him I will praise, the One Who saved me.

You will draw water with joy from the very fountain of salvation. Then you will say : “Praise to the Lord, break into songs of joy for Him, proclaim His marvellous deeds among the nations and exalt His Name.”

“Sing to the Lord : wonders He has done, let these be known all over the earth. Sing for joy, o people of Zion, for great in your midst is the Holy One of Israel.”

Sunday, 12 December 2021 : Third Sunday of Advent, Gaudete Sunday (First Reading)

Liturgical Colour : Rose (Gaudete Sunday) or Purple/Violet

Zephaniah 3 : 14-18a

Cry out with joy, o daughter of Zion; rejoice, o people of Israel! Sing joyfully with all your heart, daughter of Jerusalem! YHVH has lifted your sentence and has driven your enemies away. YHVH, the King of Israel is with you; do not fear any misfortune.

On that day, they will say to Jerusalem : Do not be afraid nor let your hands tremble, for YHVH your God is within you, YHVH, saving warrior. He will jump for joy on seeing you, for He has revived His love. For you He will cry out with joy, as you do in the days of the feast. I will drive away the evil I warned you about.

(Usus Antiquior) Third Sunday of Advent, Gaudete Sunday (I Classis) – Sunday, 12 December 2021 : Offertory, Secret Prayer of the Priest, Communion and Post-Communion Prayer

Liturgical Colour : Violet or Rose (Gaudete Sunday)

Offertory

Psalm 84 : 2

Benedixisti, Domine, terram Tuam : avertisti captivitatem Jacob : remisisti iniquitatem plebis Tuae.

English translation

Lord, You have blessed Your land. You have turned away the captivity of Jacob. You have forgiven the iniquity of Your people.

Secret Prayer of the Priest

Devotionis nostrae Tibi, quaesumus, Domine, hostia jugiter immoletur : quae et sacri peragat instituta mysterii, et salutare Tuum in nobis mirabiliter operetur. 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 sacrifice of our devotion, we beseech You, o Lord, be continually offered to You, both to carry out Your designs in this holy Mystery and wonderfully to work in us Your salvation. 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

Isaiah 35 : 4

Dicite : pusillanimes, confortamini et nolite timere : ecce, Deus noster veniet et salvabit nos.

English translation

Say, you faint hearted, take courage and do not fear, behold our God will come and will save us.

Post-Communion Prayer

Imploramus, Domine, clementiam Tuam : ut haec divina subsidia, a vitiis expiatos, ad festa ventura nos praeparent. Per Dominum nostrum Jesum Christum Filium Tuum, qui Tecum vivit et regnat in unitate Spiritus Sancti Deus, per omnia saecula saeculorum. Amen.

English translation

We implore Your clemency, o Lord, that cleansed from our sins, these divine aids may prepare us for the coming festival. 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) Third Sunday of Advent, Gaudete Sunday (I Classis) – Sunday, 12 December 2021 : Holy Gospel

Liturgical Colour : Violet or Rose (Gaudete Sunday)

Sequentia Sancti Evangelii secundum Joannem – Continuation of the Holy Gospel according to St. John

John 1 : 19-28

In illo tempore : Miserunt Judaei ab Jerosolymis sacerdotes et levitas ad Joannem, ut interrogarent eum : Tu quis es? Et confessus est, et non negavit : et confessus est : Quia non sum ego Christus. Et interrogaverunt eum : Quid ergo? Elias es tu? Et dixit : Non sum. Propheta es tu? Et respondit : Non.

Dixerunt ergo ei : Quis es, ut responsum demus his, qui miserunt nos? Quid dicis de te ipso? Ait : Ego vox clamantis in deserto : Dirigite viam Domini, sicut dixit Isaias Propheta. Et qui missi fuerant, erant ex pharisaeis. Et interrogaverunt eum, et dixerunt ei : Quid ergo baptizas, si tu non es Christus, neque Elias, neque Propheta?

Respondit eis Joannes, dicens : Ego baptizo in aqua : medius autem vestrum stetit, quem vos nescitis. Ipse est, qui post me venturus est, qui ante me factus est : cujus ego non sum dignus ut solvam ejus corrigiam calceamenti.

Haec in Bethania facta sunt trans Jordanem, ubi erat Joannes baptizans.

English translation

At that time, the Jews sent from Jerusalem, priests and Levites to John to ask him, “Who are you?” And he confessed, and did not deny, and he confessed, “I am not the Christ.” And they asked him, “What then? Are you Elijah?” And he said, “I am not.” “Are you the prophet?” And he answered, “No.”

They therefore said unto him, “Who are you that we may give an answer to those who sent us? What did you say of yourself?” He said, “I am the voice of one crying in the wilderness. Make straight the way of the Lord, as said by the prophet Isaiah.” And those who were sent were of the Pharisees, and they asked him, and said to him, “Why, then, did you baptise, if you are not Christ, nor Elijah, nor the prophet?”

John answered them, saying, “I baptise with water, but there had stood One in your midst, Whom you do not know, the same One, He Who shall come after me. Who is preferred before me, the latchet of Whose shoe I am not worthy to loosen.”

These things were done in Bethania beyond the Jordan, where John was baptising.

(Usus Antiquior) Third Sunday of Advent, Gaudete Sunday (I Classis) – Sunday, 12 December 2021 : Gradual and Alleluia

Liturgical Colour : Violet or Rose (Gaudete Sunday)

Psalm 79 : 2-3 and Psalm 79 : 2

Qui sedes, Domine, super Cherubim, excita potentiam Tuam, et veni.

Response : Qui Reges Israel, intende : qui deducis, velut ovem, Joseph.

Alleluja, Alleluja.

Response : Excita, Domine, potentiam Tuam, et veni, ut salvos facias nos. Alleluja.

English translation

You, o Lord, Who sits upon the Cherubim, stir up Your might, and come.

Response : Give ear, o You Who rule Israel, You Who leads Joseph like a sheep.

Alleluia, Alleluia.

Response : Stir up Your might, o Lord, and come, that You may save us. Alleluia.

(Usus Antiquior) Third Sunday of Advent, Gaudete Sunday (I Classis) – Sunday, 12 December 2021 : Epistle

Liturgical Colour : Violet or Rose (Gaudete Sunday)

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

Philippians 4 : 4-7

Fratres : Gaudete in Domino semper : iterum dico, gaudete. Modestia vestra nota sit omnibus hominibus : Dominus enim prope est. Nihil solliciti sitis : sed in omni oratione et obsecratione, cum gratiarum actione, petitiones vestrae innotescant apud Deum.

Et pax Dei, quae exsuperat omnem sensum, custodiat corda vestra et intellegentias vestras, in Christo Jesu, Domino nostro.

English translation

Brethren, rejoice in the Lord always, again I say, rejoice. Let your modesty be known to all men. The Lord is nigh. Be nothing solicitous, but in everything by prayer and supplication with thanksgiving let your requests be made known to God.

And the peace of God, which surpassed all understanding, keep your hearts and minds in Christ Jesus our Lord.

(Usus Antiquior) Third Sunday of Advent, Gaudete Sunday (I Classis) – Sunday, 12 December 2021 : Introit and Collect

Liturgical Colour : Violet or Rose (Gaudete Sunday)

Introit

Philippians 4 : 4-6 and Psalm 84 : 2

Gaudete in Domino semper : iterum dico, gaudete. Modestia vestra nota sit omnibus hominibus : Dominus enim prope est. Nihil solliciti sitis : sed in omni oratione petitiones vestrae innotescant apud Deum.

Benedixisti, Domine, terram Tuam : avertisti captivitatem Jacob.

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

English translation

Rejoice in the Lord always, again I say, rejoice. Let your modesty be known to all men, for the Lord is nigh. Be nothing solicitous, but in everything by prayer let your requests be made known to God.

Lord, You have blessed Your land. You have turned away the captivity of Jacob.

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

Aurem Tuam, quaesumus, Domine, precibus nostris accommoda : et mentis nostrae tenebras, gratia Tuae visitationis illustra. Qui Vivis et regnas in unitate Spiritus Sancti Deus, per omnia saecula saeculorum. Amen.

English translation

Incline Your ear to our prayers, o Lord, we beseech You, and make bright the darkness of our minds by the grace of Your visitation, You Who lives and reigns in the unity of the Holy Spirit, God, world without end. Amen.

Saturday, 11 December 2021 : 2nd Week of Advent, Memorial of Pope St. Damasus I, Pope (Homily and Scripture Reflections)

Liturgical Colour : Purple/Violet or White (Popes)

Dear brothers and sisters in Christ, today as we listened to the words of the Lord in the Sacred Scriptures, we are all called to reflect on the lives of two great servants of God of the past, both of whom had dedicated themselves to the Lord all their lives, enduring great trials and challenges in serving the Lord and facing persecutions and oppressions all the while doing God’s works. We should reflect on their lives this Advent that we too may become more faithful by following their examples and faith.

First of all, the prophet Elijah, one of those two great servants of God was mentioned in our first reading today from the Book of the prophet Sirach. The prophet Elijah was a great prophet and servant of God sent to the northern kingdom of Israel, to their king and people, to remind them of God and their obligation to serve God and abandon their sinful worship of the pagan gods and idols. Elijah laboured for many years, preaching God’s message and performing miracles among the people and their king who were stubborn in opposing God.

As mentioned in the Book of Sirach, Elijah performed many wonderful deeds, such as bringing God’s retribution in the years of famine and drought that happened during the reign of king Ahab for his wickedness and the Israelites’ constant refusals to follow the Lord, and then the moment when he stood up alone against the four hundred and fifty priests of Baal, the Canaanite pagan idol at Mount Carmel. By the power of God, Elijah called down fire from Heaven that showed that God is indeed the true God and Creator of all, and defeating all those priests of Baal before the people of God.

Yet, at that time, just as Elijah performed many wonderful deeds, he also faced a lot of tough experiences as he was often rejected by the king and the people, and had many enemies among them, even though they had witnessed everything that God had performed and done through Elijah. He had to flee into exile and was on the run from the land of Israel because of this, on more than one occasion. He had to work and labour alone amidst the often hostile populace and encountered a lot of challenges along the way.

Elijah was then later on taken up to Heaven in a flaming chariot sent by God, as witnessed by his disciple and successor, the prophet Elisha. All these were mentioned by the prophet Sirach as well. Then, he was again mentioned by the Lord Jesus in our Gospel passage today, as one of His disciples asked Him regarding the coming of the prophet Elijah, and how he had actually come then. It was believed among the Jewish people, the descendants of the Israelites, that the prophet Elijah, who was taken up into Heaven and therefore did not die, would come again to proclaim the Messiah or the Saviour of God.

This was a reference to St. John the Baptist, the one who was the Herald of the Messiah, the one who prepared the path for the Lord Jesus as predicted by the prophets. The Lord mentioned how John was the fulfilment of those prophecies, and indeed, his works and ministry had prepared the path for the Lord and His coming into this world. St. John the Baptist had often been compared with the prophet Elijah because both of them had suffered persecutions for their works and both of them lived in a similar manner, travelling in the wilderness, proclaiming repentance and the coming of God’s salvation.

Some said that St. John the Baptist was indeed the same prophet Elijah sent into the world to finish the works that he had once initiated. And others said that St. John the Baptist had the spirit of the prophet Elijah, which was not the same as being the same person, but that both by that extension had the same ministry among the people of God, the same approach and efforts. And regardless which one is the real case, St. John the Baptist and the prophet Elijah both had laboured hard, sweat, blood and endured sufferings for the sake of the glory of God.

Today, we have yet another great servant of God who dedicated his life to Him, and who can also become our role model and inspiration in life. Pope St. Damasus I was the Pope, and therefore leader of the Universal Church during the important years and time of the Church when there were numerous converts and more and more coming to believe in God. At that same time, there were also a lot of divisions and disagreements in the Church, which Pope St. Damasus worked very hard to overcome as the leader of all God’s faithful people.

Pope St. Damasus himself became Pope during a turbulent time of a succession crisis following the death of the previous reigning Pope due to interference from the secular ruling class and nobles of Rome. There was a contested election and two rival Popes were elected, in a heated campaign before Pope St. Damasus eventually prevailed against his rival. This rival himself belonged to the heretical party, the Arians, who had wrecked a lot of damage and divisions in the Church for many decades up to that time.

Pope St. Damasus was instrumental in leading the charge against the heretics and all of their false teachings, devoting much of his time and efforts to overcome the falsehoods spread by those who claimed to teach the truth of God, but in reality were spreading false ideas. He also helped the creation of the Biblical canon especially in the Western, Latin half of the Church by his works with St. Jerome, whom he tasked with the compilation and the proper translation of the Greek Septuagint Bible into Latin, which would become the renowned Latin Vulgate Bible.

Brothers and sisters in Christ, in Pope St. Damasus, his life and works we can see how those who dedicated their lives to serve God often had to face a lot of challenges in their mission, and many had to even face prison, suffering and death, like what the prophet Elijah and St. John the Baptist endured, the latter which suffered martyrdom at the hands of King Herod, for his courage in defending the truth of God and the sanctity of His teachings and ways. Having heard of these great examples, are we now more encouraged to live our lives faithfully in accordance with God’s truth?

Let us all seek to glorify the Lord in each and every moments of our lives, that we may indeed be ever faithful in our every actions, words and deeds so that through us, through our contributions no matter how small they may be, we will always bring glory to the Name of the Lord. May God bless us always, now and forevermore. Amen.

Saturday, 11 December 2021 : 2nd Week of Advent, Memorial of Pope St. Damasus I, Pope (Gospel Reading)

Liturgical Colour : Purple/Violet or White (Popes)

Matthew 17 : 10-13

At that time, the disciples of Jesus asked Him, “Why do the teachers of the Law say that Elijah must come first?”

Jesus answered, “So it is : first comes Elijah; and he will restore all things. But I tell you, Elijah has already come; and they did not recognise him; and they treated him as they pleased. And they will also make the Son of Man suffer.”

Then the disciples understood that Jesus was referring to John the Baptist.