Tuesday, 24 December 2019 : Vigil Mass of the Solemnity of the Nativity of the Lord (Gospel Reading)

Liturgical Colour : White

Matthew 1 : 1-25

This is the account of the genealogy of Jesus Christ, Son of David, Son of Abraham. Abraham was the father of Isaac, Isaac the father of Jacob, Jacob the father of Judah and his brothers. Judah was the father of Perez and Zerah (their mother was Tamar), Perez was the father of Hezron, and Hezron of Aram. Aram was the father of Aminadab, Aminadab of Nahshon, Nahshon of Salmon.

Salmon was the father of Boaz. His mother was Rahab. Boaz was the father of Obed. His mother was Ruth. Obed was the father of Jesse. Jesse was the father of David, the king. David was the father of Solomon. His mother had been Uriah’s wife. Solomon was the father of Rehoboam. Then came the kings : Abijah, Asaph, Jehoshaphat, Joram, Uzziah, Jotham, Ahaz, Hezekiah, Manasseh, Amon, Josiah.

Josiah was the father of Jechoniah and his brothers at the time of the deportation to Babylon. After the deportation to Babylon, Jechoniah was the father of Salathiel and Salathiel of Zerubbabel. Zerubbabel was the father of Abiud, Abiud of Eliakim, and Eliakim of Azor. Azor was the father of Zadok, Zadok the father of Akim, and Akim the father of Eliud. Eliud was the father of Eleazar, Eleazar of Matthan, and Matthan of Jacob.

Jacob was the father of Joseph, the husband of Mary, and from her came Jesus Who is called the Christ – the Messiah. There were fourteen generations in all from Abraham to David, and fourteen generations from David to the deportation to Babylon, and fourteen generations from the deportation to Babylon to the birth of Christ.

This is how Jesus Christ was born : Mary His mother had been given to Joseph in marriage, but before they lived together, she was found to be pregnant through the Holy Spirit. Then Joseph, her husband, made plans to divorce her in all secrecy. He was an upright man, and in no way did he want to discredit her.

While he was pondering over this, an Angel of the Lord appeared to him in a dream and said, “Joseph, descendant of David, do not be afraid to take Mary as your wife. She has conceived by the Holy Spirit, and now she will bear a Son. You shall call Him ‘Jesus’ for He will save His people from their sins.”

All this happened in order to fulfil what the Lord had said through the prophet : The Virgin will conceive and bear a Son, and He will be called Emmanuel, which means God-with-us. When Joseph woke up, he did what the Angel of the Lord had told him to do, and he took his wife to his home.

So she gave birth to a Son and he had not had marital relations with her. Joseph gave Him the Name Jesus.

Alternative reading (shorter version)

Matthew 1 : 18-25

This is how Jesus Christ was born : Mary His mother had been given to Joseph in marriage, but before they lived together, she was found to be pregnant through the Holy Spirit. Then Joseph, her husband, made plans to divorce her in all secrecy. He was an upright man, and in no way did he want to discredit her.

While he was pondering over this, an Angel of the Lord appeared to him in a dream and said, “Joseph, descendant of David, do not be afraid to take Mary as your wife. She has conceived by the Holy Spirit, and now she will bear a Son. You shall call Him ‘Jesus’ for He will save His people from their sins.”

All this happened in order to fulfil what the Lord had said through the prophet : The Virgin will conceive and bear a Son, and He will be called Emmanuel, which means God-with-us. When Joseph woke up, he did what the Angel of the Lord had told him to do, and he took his wife to his home.

So she gave birth to a Son and he had not had marital relations with her. Joseph gave Him the Name Jesus.

Tuesday, 24 December 2019 : Vigil Mass of the Solemnity of the Nativity of the Lord (Second Reading)

Liturgical Colour : White

Acts 13 : 16-17, 22-25

So Paul arose, motioned to them for silence and began, “Fellow Israelites and also all you who fear God, listen. The God of our people Israel chose our ancestors, and after He had made them increase during their stay in Egypt, He led them out by powerful deeds.

After that time, God removed Saul and raised up David as king, to whom He bore witness saying : I have found David, the son of Jesse, a man after My own heart, who will do all I want him to do.

It is from the descendants of David that God has now raised up the promised Saviour of Israel, Jesus. Before He appeared, John proclaimed a baptism of repentance for all the people of Israel. As John was ending his life’s work, he said : ‘I am not what you think I am, for after me another One is coming Whose sandal I am not worthy to untie.'”

Tuesday, 24 December 2019 : Vigil Mass of the Solemnity of the Nativity of the Lord (Psalm)

Liturgical Colour : White

Psalm 88 : 4-5, 16-17, 27 and 29

You said, “I have made a covenant with David, My chosen one; I have made a pledge to My servant. I establish his descendants forever; I build his throne for all generations.”

Blessed is the people who know Your praise. They walk in the light of Your face. They celebrate all day Your Name and Your protection lifts them up.

He will call on Me, “You are my Father, my God, my Rock, my Saviour.” I will keep My covenant firm forever, and My love for him will endure.

Tuesday, 24 December 2019 : Vigil Mass of the Solemnity of the Nativity of the Lord (First Reading)

Liturgical Colour : White

Isaiah 62 : 1-5

For Zion’s sake I will not hold My peace, for Jerusalem I will not keep silent, until her holiness shines like the dawn and her salvation flames like a burning torch. The nations will see your holiness and all the kings your glory. You will be called by a new name which the mouth of YHVH will reveal.

You will be a crown of glory in the hand of YHVH, a royal diadem in the hand of your God. No longer will you be named Forsaken; no longer will your land be called Abandoned; but you will be called My Delight and your land Espoused. For YHVH delights in you and will make your land His spouse.

As a young man marries a virgin, so will your Builder marry you; and as a bridegroom rejoices in his bride, so will your God rejoice in you.

Tuesday, 24 December 2019 : 4th Week of Advent (Homily and Scripture Reflections)

Liturgical Colour : Purple/Violet

Dear brothers and sisters in Christ, on this day we are almost at Christmas and our wait for the great celebrations as almost over, and today is the last day of the season of Advent, the time which the Church has especially provided for us all to prepare ourselves for the coming of Christmas. Now, let us then ask ourselves if we are all truly ready to welcome the Lord and rejoice in Him this Christmas?

Have our Advent activities been fruitful, brothers and sisters in Christ? Have we made good use of the time provided for us to have a profound change and preparation in our hearts and minds, in our way of life and in our predisposition to be able to celebrate Christmas worthily, with true joy and with the right focus and intentions? Are we still celebrating Christmas in the wrong way, by forgetting about the One Whom we ought to be celebrating about?

As we recall the Scripture readings we have just heard today, we should inspect ourselves and see how we have progressed through this Advent and in our own journey of faith. Our first reading which was taken from the Book of the prophet Samuel told us about the conversation between king David and his advisor, the prophet Nathan, about his desire to build a great house for the Lord, the idea which would eventually become the great Temple of Jerusalem.

However, God had a different plan, and told king David that it was not His will that the House would be built by him or during his reign as king, as instead, it would be his son, the future king Solomon, who would be the one to build the great house for God. Nonetheless, if we read through the other parts of the history, it was king David who laid much of the foundations of the effort, preparing much goods and materials necessary for the foundation of the Temple.

In this reading alone, there are a few things that we should take note of carefully. First of all, when God spoke to king David that it would be his son who would build the Temple of God, and how God would make the reign of David’s son secure, God was in fact speaking not just of the literal son of David, that is Solomon, but also foreshadowing of the One Who would be the fulfilment of all of God’s many promises, that is Christ, to be born as Heir and Son of David, Who would be the One to build the Eternal dwelling of God among His people.

And how did that happen, brothers and sisters in Christ? It was by His incarnation in the flesh, that the Divine Word and Son of God entered into this world and born as the Son of Man, through Mary, His mother. Through this singular act, of God becoming one of us, He has dwelled in our midst and built His House forever, the foundation of which is His own beloved Son, Jesus Christ our Lord.

And just as the first Temple is the place where the people of Israel worshipped God and was the visible symbol of God’s presence among His people, thus the new and everlasting Temple in Christ which Our Lord Himself has built, is the focus and heart of the Church that He has established in this world, and is composed of all of us who believed in the Lord. All of these were made possible because God has loved us so much and endeavoured to do so much for us, that by His entry into this world, that we celebrate in Christmas, all of us have a new hope in Him.

In our Gospel today, we heard of the father of St. John the Baptist, Zechariah, who was so filled with the Holy Spirit that he sang with a great joy, blessing and thanking God for all that He has done for His people, not just that He has blessed him with a son, but even more so that because of that son he had, through the works that the son would accomplish in proclaiming the coming of the Messiah, the world would be called towards God’s salvation and love.

Now, brothers and sisters in Christ, is this the same kind of joy that we have and which we are preparing for this upcoming Christmas? Or is our joy instead one that is empty and self-centred, and not centred and focused on Christ? Because Christmas is just tomorrow, let us ask ourselves, and indeed, remind ourselves, what is the true meaning and joy of Christmas to all of us. We should be joyful as Zechariah had been, with the right intention in heart and mind.

And just as I mentioned earlier, how king David prepared lots of things and materials to build the House of God, let us all the also prepare ourselves to have a wonderful and most meaningful Christmas celebration, not in the festivities and merrymaking, but rather by putting Christ at the very centre and heart of our celebrations, remembering God’s great love for us that made Christmas possible in the first place.

Let us share the joy and love of God in Christmas to everyone, and let us all bear witness to Christ, by doing our best to live as how we should be living as Christians, filled with God’s love and generously sharing this love with one another. And may God be with us always and may He bless our Christmas celebrations beginning tomorrow. Amen.

Tuesday, 24 December 2019 : 4th Week of Advent (Gospel Reading)

Liturgical Colour : Purple/Violet

Luke 1 : 67-79

Zechariah, filled with Holy Spirit, sang this canticle, “Blessed be the Lord God of Israel, for He has come and redeemed His people. In the house of David His servant, He has raised up for us a victorious Saviour; as He promised through His prophets of old, salvation from our enemies and from the hand of our foes.”

“He has shown mercy to our fathers; and remembered His holy covenant, the oath He swore to Abraham, our father, to deliver us from the enemy, that we might serve Him fearlessly, as a holy and righteous people, all the days of our lives.”

“And you, my child, shall be called prophet of the Most High, for you shall go before the Lord to prepare the way for Him, and to enable His people to know of their salvation, when He comes to forgive their sins. This is the work of the mercy of our God, Who comes from on high as a rising sun, shining on those who live in darkness and in the shadow of death, and guiding our feet into the way of peace.”

Tuesday, 24 December 2019 : 4th Week of Advent (Psalm)

Liturgical Colour : Purple/Violet

Psalm 88 : 2-3. 4-5, 27 and 29

I will sing forever, o YHVH, of Your love, and proclaim Your faithfulness from age to age. I will declare how steadfast is Your love, how firm Your faithfulness.

You said, “I have made a Covenant with David, My chosen one; I have made a pledge to My servant. I establish his descendants forever; I build his throne for all generations.”

He will call on Me, “You are my Father, my God, my Rock, my Saviour.” I will keep My Covenant firm forever, and my love for Him will endure.

Tuesday, 24 December 2019 : 4th Week of Advent (First Reading)

Liturgical Colour : Purple/Violet

2 Samuel 7 : 1-5, 8b-12, 14a, 16

When the king had settled in his palace and YHVH had rid him of all his surrounding enemies, he said to Nathan the prophet, “Look, I live in a house of cedar but the Ark of God is housed in a tent.” Nathan replied, “Do as it seems fit to you for YHVH is with you.”

But that very night, YHVH’s word came to Nathan, “Go and tell My servant David, this is what YHVH says : Are you able to build a house for Me to live in? I took you from the pasture, from tending the sheep, to make you commander of My people Israel. I have been with you wherever you went, cutting down all your enemies before you. Now I will make your name great, as the name of the great ones on earth.”

“I will provide a place for My people Israel and plant them that they may live there in peace. They shall no longer be harassed, nor shall wicked men oppress them as before. From the time when I appointed judges over My people Israel it is only to you that I have given rest from all your enemies. YHVH also tells you that He will build you a house.”

“When the time comes for you to rest with your ancestors, I will raise up your son after you, the one born of you; and I will make his reign secure. I will be a Father to him and he shall be My son. Your house and your reign shall last forever before Me, and your throne shall be forever firm.”