Sunday, 19 December 2021 : Fourth Sunday of Advent (Gospel Reading)

Liturgical Colour : Purple/Violet

Luke 1 : 39-45

Mary then set out for a town in the hill country of Judah. She entered the house of Zechariah and greeted Elizabeth. When Elizabeth heard Mary’s greeting, the baby leapt in her womb.

Elizabeth was filled with the Holy Spirit, and, giving a loud cry, said, “You are most blessed among women; and blessed is the Fruit of your womb! How is it, that the mother of my Lord comes to me? The moment your greeting sounded in my ears, the baby within me suddenly leapt for joy. Blessed are you, who believed that the Lord’s word would come true!”

Sunday, 19 December 2021 : Fourth Sunday of Advent (Second Reading)

Liturgical Colour : Purple/Violet

Hebrews 10 : 5-10

This is why, on entering the world, Christ says : You did not desire sacrifice and offering; You were not pleased with burnt offerings and sin offerings. Then I said : “Here I am. It was written of me in the scroll. I will do Your will, o God.”

First he says : Sacrifice, offerings, burnt offerings and sin offerings You did not desire nor were You pleased with them – although they were required by the Law. Then he says : Here I am to do Your will. This is enough to nullify the first will and establish the new. Now, by this will of God, we are sanctified, once, and for all, by the sacrifice of the Body of Christ Jesus.

Sunday, 19 December 2021 : Fourth Sunday of Advent (Psalm)

Liturgical Colour : Purple/Violet

Psalm 79 : 2ac and 3bc, 15-16, 18-19

Listen, o Shepherd of Israel, You, Who sit enthroned between the Cherubim. Stir up Your might and come to save us.

Turn again, o YHVH of hosts, look down from heaven and see; care for this vine, and protect the stock Your hand has planted.

But lay Your hand on Your instrument, on the Son of Man Whom You make strong for Yourself. Then we will never turn away from You; give us life, and we will call on Your Name.

Sunday, 19 December 2021 : Fourth Sunday of Advent (First Reading)

Liturgical Colour : Purple/Violet

Micah 5 : 1-4a

But you, Bethlehem Ephrata, so small that you are hardly named among the clans of Judah; from you shall I raise the One Who is to rule over Israel. For He comes forth from of old, from the ancient times.

YHVH, therefore, will abandon Israel until such time as she, who is to give birth, has given birth. Then the rest of His deported brothers will return to the people of Israel. He will stand, and shepherd His flock with the strength of YHVH, in the glorious Name of YHVH, His God.

They will live safely, while He wins renown to the ends of the earth. He shall be peace.

(Usus Antiquior) Fourth Sunday of Advent (I Classis) – Sunday, 19 December 2021 : Offertory, Secret Prayer of the Priest, Communion and Post-Communion Prayer

Liturgical Colour : Violet

Offertory

Luke 1 : 28

Ave, Maria, gratia plena; Dominus tecum : benedicta tu in mulieribus, et benedictus Fructus ventris tui.

English translation

Hail, Mary, full of grace, the Lord is with you. Blessed are you among women, and blessed is the Fruit of your womb.

Secret Prayer of the Priest

Sacrificiis praesentibus, quaesumus, Domine, placatus intende : ut et devotioni nostrae proficiant et saluti. Per Dominum nostrum Jesum Christum Filium Tuum, qui Tecum vivit et regnat in unitate Spiritus Sancti Deus, per omnia saecula saeculorum. Amen.

English translation

Look with favour, we beseech You, o Lord upon these offerings here before You, that they may profit both for our devotion and for our 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 7 : 14

Ecce, Virgo concipiet et pariet Filium : et vocabitur Nomen Ejus Emmanuel.

English translation

Behold a Virgin shall conceive, and bring forth a Son, and His Name shall be called Emmanuel.

Post-Communion Prayer

Sumptis muneribus, quaesumus, Domine : ut, cum frequentatione mysterii, crescat nostrae salutis effectus. Per Dominum nostrum Jesum Christum Filium Tuum, qui Tecum vivit et regnat in unitate Spiritus Sancti Deus, per omnia saecula saeculorum. Amen.

English translation

Having received Your gifts, o Lord, we pray that the saving effect of the mystery may increase as we frequent it. 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) Fourth Sunday of Advent (I Classis) – Sunday, 19 December 2021 : Holy Gospel

Liturgical Colour : Violet

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

Luke 3 : 1-6

Anno quintodecimo imperii Tiberii Caesaris, procurante Pontio Pilato Judaeam, tetrarcha autem Galilaeae Herode, Philippo autem fratre ejus tetrarcha Ituraeae et Trachonitidis regionis, et Lysania Abilinae tetrarcha, sub principibus sacerdotum Anna et Caipha : factum est verbum Domini super Joannem, Zachariae filium, in deserto.

Et venit in omnem regionem Jordanis, praedicans baptismum paenitentiae in remissionem peccatorum, sicut scriptum est in libro sermonum Isaiae Prophetae : Vox clamantis in deserto : Parate viam Domini : rectas facite semitas ejus : omnis vallis implebitur : et omnis mons et collis humiliabitur : et erunt prava in directa, et aspera in vias planas : et videbit omnis caro salutare Dei.

English translation

In the fifteenth year of the reign of the Emperor Tiberius Caesar, Pontius Pilate as the governor of Judea, and Herod as the tetrarch of Galilee, and Philip his brother tetrarch of Iturea and the country of Trachonitis, and Lysanias tetrarch of Abilina, under the high priests Annas and Caiaphas, the word of the Lord came to John the son of Zechariah in the desert.

And he came into all the country about the Jordan, preaching the baptism of penance for the remission of sins, as it is written in the Book of the sayings of the prophet Isaiah, “A voice of one crying in the wilderness : Prepare the way of the Lord, make straight His paths. Every valleys shall be filled, and every mountains and hills shall be brought low. The crooked shall be made straight, and the rough ways plain, and all flesh shall see the salvation of God.”

(Usus Antiquior) Fourth Sunday of Advent (I Classis) – Sunday, 19 December 2021 : Gradual and Alleluia

Liturgical Colour : Violet

Psalm 144 : 18, 21 and Tradition of the Faith

Prope est Dominus omnibus invocantibus eum : omnibus, qui invocant eum in veritate.

Response : Laudem Domini loquetur os meum : et benedicat omnis caro Nomen sanctum Ejus.

Alleluja, Alleluja.

Response : Veni, Domine, et noli tardare : relaxa facinora plebis Tuae Israel. Alleluja.

English translation

The Lord is nigh unto all those who call upon Him, to all who call upon Him in truth.

Response : My mouth shall speak the praise of the Lord, and let all flesh bless His holy Name.

Alleluia, Alleluia.

Response : Come, o Lord, and do not delay, forgive the sins of Your people Israel. Alleluia.

(Usus Antiquior) Fourth Sunday of Advent (I Classis) – Sunday, 19 December 2021 : Epistle

Liturgical Colour : Violet

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

1 Corinthians 4 : 1-5

Fratres : Sic nos existimet homo ut ministros Christi, et dispensatores mysteriorum Dei. Hic jam quaeritur inter dispensatores, ut fidelis quis inveniatur. Mihi autem pro minimo est, ut a vobis judicer aut ab humano die : sed neque meipsum judico.

Nihil enim mihi conscius sum : sed non in hoc justificatus sum : qui autem judicat me, Dominus est. Itaque nolite ante tempus judicare, quoadusque veniat Dominus : qui et illuminabit abscondita tenebrarum, et manifestabit consilia cordium : et tunc laus erit unicuique a Deo.

English translation

Brethren, let a man so account of us as of the ministers of Christ, and the dispensers of the mysteries of God. Here now it is required among the dispensers, that a man be found faithful. But to me it is a very small thing to be judged by you, or by man’s day, but neither do I judge my own self.

For I am not conscious to myself of anything, yet am I not hereby justified, but He Who judges me is the Lord. Therefore, do not judge before the time, until the Lord comes, Who both will bring to light the hidden things of darkness, and will make manifest the counsels of the hearts, and then shall every man have praise from God.

(Usus Antiquior) Fourth Sunday of Advent (I Classis) – Sunday, 19 December 2021 : Introit and Collect

Liturgical Colour : Violet

Introit

Isaiah 45 : 8 and Psalm 18 : 2

Rorate, caeli, desuper, et nubes pluant justum : aperiatur terra, et germinet Salvatorem.

Caeli enarrant gloriam Dei : et opera manuum Ejus annuntiat firmamentum.

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

English translation

Drop down dew, you heavens, from above, and let the clouds rain on the just, let te earth be opened and bud forth a Saviour.

The heavens show forth the glory of God, and the firmament declares the work of His Hands.

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, quaesumus, Domine, potentiam Tuam, et veni : et magna nobis virtute succurre; ut per auxilium gratiae Tuae, quod nostra peccata praepediunt, indulgentiae Tuae propitiationis acceleret : Qui Vivis et regnas in unitate Spiritus Sancti Deus, per omnia saecula saeculorum. Amen.

English translation

Bestir, o Lord, Your might, we beseech You, and come, and with great power come to our aid, that, by the help of Your grace, that which is hindered by our sins may be hastened by Your merciful forgiveness. You Who lives and reigns in the unity of the Holy Spirit, God, world without end. Amen.

Saturday, 18 December 2021 : 3rd Week of Advent (Homily and Scripture Reflections)

Liturgical Colour : Purple/Violet

Dear brothers and sisters in Christ, today as we listened to the words of the Scripture, we are reminded as we get ever closer to Christmas, of how the Lord has fulfilled His promises to us and gave us the perfect love that He manifested in the flesh, in our midst, in the person of Jesus Christ, the Son of God Most High and the Son of Man, born of Mary, His mother and part of the family of St. Joseph, His foster-father and becoming the Heir and Son of David, King of Israel.

As we heard from our first reading today from the Book of the prophet Jeremiah, God promised His people that He would come to bring them liberation and salvation from their many troubles. And as God has revealed to them all throughout the past history, through many prophets and messengers, He would send His deliverer, the Saviour to come as the Heir of David, sending His only begotten Son to be the One to lead all of His beloved ones out of the darkness and into the Light of His salvation and truth.

God did not give up on us all, His beloved ones and He did everything He could to gather us all in, scattered throughout this darkened world full of sin and evil. He has always reached out to us, calling on us all to return to Him and to find our way to His presence. He wants to forgive us all our sins, and that is why, He gave us so great a deliverance and a Deliverer through Christ, Who came to us by the power of the Holy Spirit, indwelling in Mary, His mother, as told by the Angel of the Lord to St. Joseph, Mary’s legal husband and foster-father of the Lord.

By this action, God Himself has descended into the world, to live in our midst, Emmanuel, God is with us, a reminder that all of us are truly precious to God and greatly beloved by Him. God so loved the world that He has given us all His only Son, that through Him all will have life and be saved. That is the truth about the Good News that God has brought to us and revealed before all of us. And this is what we have to remind one another as we continue to progress through this season of Advent, to prepare ourselves so that we may celebrate Christmas worthily and appreciating the true significance and meaning of Christmas.

Let us spend some time to look at how we usually look at Christmas, how we perceive it and treat it year after year. Doubtless to say, many among us treat is as a festive and joyous occasion, but too often we are distracted by the many temptations of worldly excesses, as surely we know how we are often inundated by the commercialised perception and marketing of the secular Christmas. These are distracting us from the true essence and meaning of Christmas, as the One Whom we should be focusing on and celebrating about has often been sidelined and forgotten.

Instead, we treat Christmas as a time of feasting, merrymaking and celebrations to entertain ourselves, our ego and our desires. We seek to outdo one another in the grandness of our celebration and in the expenses we spent to celebrate, as well as desiring for many good things to please ourselves, whether in the celebrations themselves, in the company of people whom we celebrate with, and in the presents we exchange and receive, desiring and hoping to get better things for ourselves, or to revel in all the festive mood and all.

But we forget entirely why we celebrate Christmas in the first place. We forget why we, as Christians, are called to focus above all, Christ and His saving work, His kindness and compassionate mercy, the wonderful love by which He made fully manifest God’s enduring love and providence for all of us His people, through His ministry and work, His revelation of God’s truth, and finally, through His own volition, embracing a most painful suffering and death for our sake, by taking up His Cross. He suffered and died so that through those, we may all be saved.

Brothers and sisters in Christ, in the remaining time we have in this season of Advent, as we are coming ever closer to Christmas, let us all spend some time to reflect on how we perceive and plan to celebrate this Christmas. It is indeed right and proper for us to celebrate in Christmas as we should. However, we have to celebrate it with proper understanding and appreciation of God’s love for us made evident and clear in the flesh, through Christ His Son, that our celebrations are centred on the One Whom we ought to be rejoicing about.

Let us all therefore do our best to inspire one another to renew our Advent journey and reflection, so that we may come ever closer to greater appreciation and understanding of God’s work of salvation and love for us, in all that He had done for our sake. Let us all turn towards Him with genuine love and devotion, and do what we can to live a good and faithful Christian life, so that in whatever we say and do, we will always strive to be worthy of God, in all things, and worthy to welcome Him into our hearts and our lives, as we should do, this Christmas. May God bless us all and be with us always, now and forevermore. Amen.