Sunday, December 6, 2009

Prayer of the Day


St. Nicholas, patron of children, may this candycane, shaped like your Bishop's staff, be a reminder of Advent joy. Help us prepare for the miracle of the coming of Jesus. Help us not to be blind to the gifts of getting ready. Help us be sincere in the greetings we send and receive, with love and prayer. Kind St. Nicholas, protect us from shoppers' fatigue, help us to be kind and generous of heart. Whereever candy canes are hung, may they bring the bright blessings of God. Let them be reminders of the joy of sharing and our call to be God's peaceful children as we wait for Jesus. St. Nicholas, pray for us!


Second Sunday of Advent

Reading 1
Bar 5:1-9

Jerusalem, take off your robe of mourning and misery;
put on the splendor of glory from God forever:
wrapped in the cloak of justice from God,
bear on your head the mitre
that displays the glory of the eternal name.
For God will show all the earth your splendor:
you will be named by God forever
the peace of justice, the glory of God’s worship.

Up, Jerusalem! stand upon the heights;
look to the east and see your children
gathered from the east and the west
at the word of the Holy One,
rejoicing that they are remembered by God.
Led away on foot by their enemies they left you:
but God will bring them back to you
borne aloft in glory as on royal thrones.
For God has commanded
that every lofty mountain be made low,
and that the age-old depths and gorges
be filled to level ground,
that Israel may advance secure in the glory of God.
The forests and every fragrant kind of tree
have overshadowed Israel at God’s command;
for God is leading Israel in joy
by the light of his glory,
with his mercy and justice for company.

Responsorial Psalm
Ps 126:1-2, 2-3, 4-5, 6

R. The Lord has done great things for us; we are filled with joy.

When the LORD brought back the captives of Zion,
we were like men dreaming.
Then our mouth was filled with laughter,
and our tongue with rejoicing.

R. The Lord has done great things for us; we are filled with joy.

Then they said among the nations,
“The LORD has done great things for them.”
The LORD has done great things for us;
we are glad indeed.

R. The Lord has done great things for us; we are filled with joy.

Restore our fortunes, O LORD,
like the torrents in the southern desert.
Those who sow in tears
shall reap rejoicing.

R. The Lord has done great things for us; we are filled with joy.

Although they go forth weeping,
carrying the seed to be sown,
They shall come back rejoicing,
carrying their sheaves.

R. The Lord has done great things for us; we are filled with joy.

Reading II
Phil 1:4-6, 8-11

Brothers and sisters:
I pray always with joy in my every prayer for all of you,
because of your partnership for the gospel
from the first day until now.
I am confident of this,
that the one who began a good work in you
will continue to complete it
until the day of Christ Jesus.
God is my witness,
how I long for all of you with the affection of Christ Jesus.
And this is my prayer:
that your love may increase ever more and more
in knowledge and every kind of perception,
to discern what is of value,
so that you may be pure and blameless for the day of Christ,
filled with the fruit of righteousness
that comes through Jesus Christ
for the glory and praise of God.

Lk 3:1-6

In the fifteenth year of the reign of Tiberius Caesar,
when Pontius Pilate was governor of Judea,
and Herod was tetrarch of Galilee,
and his brother Philip tetrarch of the region
of Ituraea and Trachonitis,
and Lysanias was tetrarch of Abilene,
during the high priesthood of Annas and Caiaphas,
the word of God came to John the son of Zechariah in the desert.
John went throughout the whole region of the Jordan,
proclaiming a baptism of repentance for the forgiveness of sins,
as it is written in the book of the words of the prophet Isaiah:
A voice of one crying out in the desert:
“Prepare the way of the Lord,
make straight his paths.
Every valley shall be filled
and every mountain and hill shall be made low.
The winding roads shall be made straight,
and the rough ways made smooth,
and all flesh shall see the salvation of God.”

Saint of the Day

December 6

St. Nicholas (d. 350?)

The absence of the “hard facts” of history is not necessarily an obstacle to the popularity of saints, as the devotion to St. Nicholas shows. Both the Eastern and Western Churches honor him, and it is claimed that, after the Blessed Virgin, he is the saint most pictured by Christian artists. And yet, historically, we can pinpoint only the fact that Nicholas was the fourth-century bishop of Myra, a city in Lycia, a province of Asia Minor.

As with many of the saints, however, we are able to capture the relationship which Nicholas had with God through the admiration which Christians have had for him—an admiration expressed in the colorful stories which have been told and retold through the centuries.

Perhaps the best-known story about Nicholas concerns his charity toward a poor man who was unable to provide dowries for his three daughters of marriageable age. Rather than see them forced into prostitution, Nicholas secretly tossed a bag of gold through the poor man’s window on three separate occasions, thus enabling the daughters to be married. Over the centuries, this particular legend evolved into the custom of gift-giving on the saint’s feast. In the English-speaking countries, St. Nicholas became, by a twist of the tongue, Santa Claus—further expanding the example of generosity portrayed by this holy bishop.

Office of Readings

O Lord, open my lips.
– And my mouth will proclaim your praise.

Antiphon: Come, let us worship the Lord, the King who is to come.

(repeat antiphon*)

Come, let us rejoice in the Lord,
let us acclaim God our salvation.
Let us come before him proclaiming our thanks,
let us acclaim him with songs.

(repeat antiphon*)

For the Lord is a great God,
a king above all gods.
For he holds the depths of the earth in his hands,
and the peaks of the mountains are his.
For the sea is his: he made it;
and his hands formed the dry land.

(repeat antiphon*)

Come, let us worship and bow down,
bend the knee before the Lord who made us;
for he himself is our God and we are his flock,
the sheep that follow his hand.

(repeat antiphon*)

If only, today, you would listen to his voice:
“Do not harden your hearts
as you did at Meribah,
on the day of Massah in the desert,
when your fathers tested me –
they put me to the test,
although they had seen my works.”

(repeat antiphon*)

“For forty years they wearied me,
that generation.
I said: their hearts are wandering,
they do not know my paths.
I swore in my anger:
they will never enter my place of rest.”

(repeat antiphon*)

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.


(repeat antiphon*)

Hymn to God the Creator
Psalm 103 (104)

The most high King will come in power to save the peoples. Alleluia.
Bless the Lord, my soul!
Lord, my God, how great you are!
You are robed in majesty and splendour;
you are wrapped in light as in a cloak.
You stretch out the sky like an awning,
you build your palace upon the waters.
You make the clouds your chariot,
you walk upon the wings of the wind.
You make the breezes your messengers,
you make burning fire your minister.
You set the earth upon its foundation:
from age to age it will stand firm.
Deep oceans covered it like a garment,
and the waters stood high above the mountains;
but you rebuked them and they fled;
at the sound of your thunder they fled in terror.
They rise to the mountains or sink to the valleys,
to the places you have decreed for them.
You have given them a boundary they must not cross;
they will never come back to cover the earth.
You make springs arise to feed the streams,
that flow in the midst of the mountains.
All the beasts of the field will drink from them
and the wild asses will quench their thirst.
Above them will nest the birds of the sky,
from among the branches their voices will sound.

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.


The most high King will come in power to save the peoples. Alleluia.
Psalm 103 (104)

Rejoice and be glad, daughter Jerusalem: your King is coming to you. Do not be afraid, Zion: your help will come soon.
From your palace you water the mountains,
and thus you give plenty to the earth.
You bring forth grass for the cattle,
and plants for the service of man.
You bring forth bread from the land,
and wine to make man’s heart rejoice.
Oil, to make the face shine;
and bread to make man’s heart strong.
The trees of the Lord have all that they need,
and the cedars of Lebanon, that he planted.
Small birds will nest there,
and storks at the tops of the trees.
For wild goats there are the high mountains;
the crags are a refuge for the coneys.
He made the moon so that time could be measured;
the sun knows the hour of its setting.
You send shadows, and night falls:
then all the beasts of the woods come out,
lion cubs roaring for their prey,
asking God for their food.
When the sun rises they come back together
to lie in their lairs;
man goes out to his labour,
and works until evening.

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.


Rejoice and be glad, daughter Jerusalem: your King is coming to you. Do not be afraid, Zion: your help will come soon.
Psalm 103 (104)

When the most high King comes, the hearts of men will be cleansed so that we are worthy to go to meet him: for now he is coming and he will not delay.
How many are your works, O Lord!
You have made all things in your wisdom,
and the earth is full of your creatures.
The sea is broad and immense:
sea-creatures swim there, both small and large,
too many to count.
Ships sail across it;
Leviathan lives there, the monster;
you made him to play with.
All of them look to you
to give them their food when they need it.
You give it to them, and they gather;
you open your hand, they are filled with good things.
But turn away, and they are dismayed;
take away their breath, and they die,
once more they will turn into dust.
You will send forth your breath, they will come to life;
you will renew the face of the earth.
Glory be to the Lord, for ever;
let the Lord rejoice in his works.
He turns his gaze to the earth, and it trembles;
he touches the mountains, and they smoke.
I will sing to the Lord all my life;
as long as I exist, I will sing songs to God.
May my praises be pleasing to him;
truly I will delight in the Lord.
Let sinners perish from the earth,
let the wicked vanish from existence.
Bless the Lord, my soul!

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.


When the most high King comes, the hearts of men will be cleansed so that we are worthy to go to meet him: for now he is coming and he will not delay.
Bow your heads no longer, but look:
– your redemption is close at hand.

Reading Isaiah 22:8-23

You turned your gaze that day
to the armoury of the House of the Forest.
You saw how many breaches there were
in the Citadel of David.
You collected the waters
of the lower pool.
You counted
the houses of Jerusalem,
and you pulled down houses
to strengthen the wall.
In the middle you made a reservoir between the two walls
for the waters of the old pool.
But you had no thought for the Maker,
no eyes for him who shaped everything long ago.
The Lord, the Lord of Hosts, called you
that day to weep and mourn,
to shave your heads, to put on sackcloth;
instead, there is joy and amusement,
killing of oxen, slaughtering of sheep,
eating of meat, drinking of wine,
‘Let us eat and drink,
for tomorrow we may be dead.’
My ears have had this revelation
from the Lord of Hosts:
‘Most certainly this sin will not be atoned for,
until you die’
says the Lord, the Lord of Hosts.
Thus says the Lord, the Lord of Hosts:
Now go to this steward,
to Shebna, the master of the palace,
who is hewing a tomb for himself high up,
carving out a room for himself in the rock,
‘What right have you here, and what relatives have you here
for you to hew yourself a tomb in this place?
See, the Lord hurls you down,
down with a single throw;
then with a strong grip he grips you,
and he winds you up into a ball
and hurls you into an immense country.
There you will die,
and there will be sent the chariots you were so proud of,
you, the disgrace of your master’s palace.’
I dismiss you from your office,
I remove you from your post,
and the same day I call on my servant
Eliakim son of Hilkiah.
I invest him with your robe,
gird him with your sash,
entrust him with your authority;
and he shall be a father
to the inhabitants of Jerusalem
and to the House of Judah.
I place the key of the House of David
on his shoulder;
should he open, no one shall close,
should he close, no one shall open.
I drive him like a peg
into a firm place;
he will become a throne of glory
for his father’s house.

Reading A commentary on Isaiah by Eusebius of Caesarea
A voice of one crying in the wilderness

The voice of one crying in the wilderness: Prepare the way of the Lord, make straight the paths of our God. The prophecy makes clear that it is to be fulfilled, not in Jerusalem but in the wilderness: it is there that the glory of the Lord is to appear, and God’s salvation is to be made known to all mankind.

It was in the wilderness that God’s saving presence was proclaimed by John the Baptist, and there that God’s salvation was seen. The words of this prophecy were fulfilled when Christ and his glory were made manifest to all: after his baptism the heavens opened, and the Holy Spirit in the form of a dove rested on him, and the Father’s voice was heard, bearing witness to the Son: This is my beloved Son, listen to him.

The prophecy meant that God was to come to a deserted place, inaccessible from the beginning. None of the pagans had any knowledge of God, since his holy servants and prophets were kept from approaching them. The voice commands that a way be prepared for the Word of God: the rough and trackless ground is to be made level, so that our God may find a highway when he comes. Prepare the way of the Lord: the way is the preaching of the Gospel, the new message of consolation, ready to bring to all mankind the knowledge of God’s saving power.

Climb on a high mountain, bearer of good news to Zion. Lift up your voice in strength, bearer of good news to Jerusalem. These words harmonise very well with the meaning of what has gone before. They refer opportunely to the evangelists and proclaim the coming of God to men, after speaking of the voice crying in the wilderness. Mention of the evangelists suitably follows the prophecy on John the Baptist.

What does Zion mean if not the city previously called Jerusalem? This is the mountain referred to in that passage from Scripture: Here is mount Zion, where you dwelt. The Apostle says: You have come to mount Zion. Does not this refer to the company of the apostles, chosen from the former people of the circumcision?

This is the Zion, the Jerusalem, that received God’s salvation. It stands aloft on the mountain of God, that is, it is raised high on the only-begotten Word of God. It is commanded to climb the high mountain and announce the word of salvation. Who is the bearer of the good news but the company of the evangelists? What does it mean to bear the good news but to preach to all nations, but first of all to the cities of Judah, the coming of Christ on earth?

Hymn Te Deum

God, we praise you; Lord, we proclaim you!
You, the Father, the eternal –
all the earth venerates you.
All the angels, all the heavens, every power –
The cherubim, the seraphim –
unceasingly, they cry:
“Holy, Holy, Holy, Lord God of Hosts:
heaven and earth are full of the majesty of your glory!”
The glorious choir of Apostles –
The noble ranks of prophets –
The shining army of martyrs –
all praise you.
Throughout the world your holy Church proclaims you.
– Father of immeasurable majesty,
– True Son, only-begotten, worthy of worship,
– Holy Spirit, our Advocate.
You, Christ:
– You are the king of glory.
– You are the Father’s eternal Son.
– You, to free mankind, did not disdain a Virgin’s womb.
– You defeated the sharp spear of Death, and opened the kingdom of heaven to those who believe in you.
– You sit at God’s right hand, in the glory of the Father.
– You will come, so we believe, as our Judge.
And so we ask of you: give help to your servants, whom you set free at the price of your precious blood.
Number them among your chosen ones in eternal glory.
Bring your people to safety, Lord, and bless those who are your inheritance.
Rule them and lift them high for ever.
Day by day we bless you, Lord: we praise you for ever and for ever.
Of your goodness, Lord, keep us without sin for today.
Have mercy on us, Lord, have mercy on us.
Let your pity, Lord, be upon us, as much as we trust in you.
In you, Lord, I trust: let me never be put to shame.

Concluding Prayer

Almighty and merciful God, as we hurry to greet the coming of your Son
let no earthly affairs impede us:
fill us with heavenly wisdom and make us his companions.
He lives and reigns with you in the unity of the Holy Spirit,
God for ever and ever.