Monday, December 3, 2012

PRAYER OF THE DAY

St. Francis Xavier: Prayer on his Feast Day

Lord Jesus,
You have sent us to proclaim the Gospel to all nations,
and have promised to always remain with us.
Look upon this family
gathered on the feast day of St. Francis Xavier.
Pour out the abundance of your Spirit
upon each one of our brothers and sisters
especially on those who are called to ponder
upon the journey made
and to plan what has still to be done,
so that we may offer a more authentic service to mission.
Grant that we may ever be faithful to the Gospel
and to give an answer
to the hopes which the world places before your church today.
Stay with us, Lord,
when we gather around the table of your Bread and your Word,
and when we walk the paths of the world
side by side with our brothers and sisters.
Grant that we all find ourselves in heaven, our homeland,
after having been members of the same family on earth.

Amen.

DAILY MASS READINGS

Memorial of Saint Francis Xavier, Priest

Reading
Is 2:1-5

This is what Isaiah, son of Amoz,
saw concerning Judah and Jerusalem.

In days to come,
The mountain of the LORD's house
shall be established as the highest mountain
and raised above the hills.
All nations shall stream toward it;
many peoples shall come and say:
"Come, let us climb the LORD's mountain,
to the house of the God of Jacob,
That he may instruct us in his ways,
and we may walk in his paths."
For from Zion shall go forth instruction,
and the word of the LORD from Jerusalem.
He shall judge between the nations,
and impose terms on many peoples.
They shall beat their swords into plowshares
and their spears into pruning hooks;
One nation shall not raise the sword against another,
nor shall they train for war again.

O house of Jacob, come,
let us walk in the light of the LORD!


Responsorial Psalm
Ps 122:1-2, 3-4b, 4cd-5, 6-7, 8-9

R. Let us go rejoicing to the house of the Lord.

I rejoiced because they said to me,
"We will go up to the house of the LORD."
And now we have set foot
within your gates, O Jerusalem.

R. Let us go rejoicing to the house of the Lord.

Jerusalem, built as a city
with compact unity.
To it the tribes go up,
the tribes of the LORD.

R. Let us go rejoicing to the house of the Lord.

According to the decree for Israel,
to give thanks to the name of the LORD.
In it are set up judgment seats,
seats for the house of David.

R. Let us go rejoicing to the house of the Lord.

Pray for the peace of Jerusalem!
May those who love you prosper!
May peace be within your walls,
prosperity in your buildings.

R. Let us go rejoicing to the house of the Lord.

Because of my relatives and friends
I will say, "Peace be within you!"
Because of the house of the LORD, our God,
I will pray for your good.

R. Let us go rejoicing to the house of the Lord.


Gospel
Mt 8:5-11

When Jesus entered Capernaum,
a centurion approached him and appealed to him, saying,
"Lord, my servant is lying at home paralyzed, suffering dreadfully."

He said to him,

"I will come and cure him."

The centurion said in reply,
"Lord, I am not worthy to have you enter under my roof;
only say the word and my servant will be healed.
For I too am a man subject to authority,
with soldiers subject to me.
And I say to one, 'Go,' and he goes;
and to another, 'Come here,' and he comes;
and to my slave, 'Do this,' and he does it."

When Jesus heard this, he was amazed and said to those following him,

"Amen, I say to you, in no one in Israel have I found such faith.
I say to you, many will come from the east and the west,
and will recline with Abraham, Isaac, and Jacob
at the banquet in the Kingdom of heaven."

SAINT OF THE DAY

December 3

St. Francis Xavier (1506-1552)

Jesus asked, “What profit would there be for one to gain the whole world and forfeit his life?” (Matthew 16:26a). The words were repeated to a young teacher of philosophy who had a highly promising career in academics, with success and a life of prestige and honor before him.

Francis Xavier, 24 at the time, and living and teaching in Paris, did not heed these words at once. They came from a good friend, Ignatius of Loyola, whose tireless persuasion finally won the young man to Christ. Francis then made the spiritual exercises under the direction of Ignatius, and in 1534 joined his little community (the infant Society of Jesus). Together at Montmartre they vowed poverty, 
chastity and apostolic service according to the directions of the pope.

From Venice, where he was ordained a priest in 1537, Francis Xavier went on to Lisbon and from there sailed to the East Indies, landing at Goa, on the west coast of India. For the next 10 years he labored to bring the faith to such widely scattered peoples as the Hindus, the Malayans and the Japanese. He spent much of that time in India, and served as provincial of the newly established Jesuit province of India.

Wherever he went, he lived with the poorest people, sharing their food and rough accommodations. He spent countless hours ministering to the sick and the poor, particularly to lepers. Very often he had no time to sleep or even to say his breviary but, as we know from his letters, 
he was filled always with joy.

Francis went through the islands of Malaysia, then up to Japan. He learned enough Japanese to preach to simple folk, to instruct and to baptize, and to establish missions for those who were to follow him. From Japan he had dreams of going to China, but this plan was never realized. 
Before reaching the mainland he died. His remains are enshrined in the Church of Good Jesus in Goa.


OFFICE OF READINGS

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

Invitatory Psalm
Psalm 23 (24)

Come, let us worship Christ, the prince of shepherds.

– Come, let us worship Christ, the prince of shepherds.

The Lord’s is the earth and its fullness,
the world and all who live in it.
He himself founded it upon the seas
and set it firm over the waters.

– Come, let us worship Christ, the prince of shepherds.

Who will climb the mountain of the Lord?
Who will stand in his holy place?
The one who is innocent of wrongdoing and pure of heart,
who has not given himself to vanities or sworn falsely.
He will receive the blessing of the Lord
and be justified by God his saviour.
This is the way of those who seek him,
seek the face of the God of Jacob.

– Come, let us worship Christ, the prince of shepherds.

Gates, raise your heads. Stand up, eternal doors,
and let the king of glory enter.
Who is the king of glory?
The Lord of might and power.
The Lord, strong in battle.

– Come, let us worship Christ, the prince of shepherds.

Gates, raise your heads. Stand up, eternal doors,
and let the king of glory enter.
Who is the king of glory?
The Lord of hosts
– he is the king of glory.

– Come, let us worship Christ, the prince of shepherds.

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.

– Come, let us worship Christ, the prince of shepherds.


Hymn

The Advent of our God
With eager prayers we greet
And singing haste up on the road
His glorious gift to meet.
The everlasting Son
Scorns not a Virgin’s womb;
That we from bondage may be won
He bears a bondsman’s doom.
Daughter of Zion, rise
To meet thy lowly King;
Let not thy stubborn heart despise
The peace he deigns to bring.
In clouds of awful light,
As Judge he comes again,
His scattered people to unite,
With them in heaven to reign.
Let evil flee away
Ere that dread hour shall dawn.
Let this old Adam day by day
God’s image still put on.
Praise to the Incarnate Son,
Who comes to set us free,
With God the Father, ever One,
To all eternity.


Psalm 6
A prayer for relief from affliction

Lord, save me in your merciful love.

Lord, do not condemn me in your fury:
do not destroy me in your anger.
Take pity on me, Lord, for I am sick;
heal me, Lord, for my bones are in disarray.
My spirit is deeply disturbed,
and you, Lord – how long?
Turn to me, Lord, rescue my spirit:
in your pity, save me.
If I die, how can I praise you?
Can anyone in the underworld proclaim your name?
I struggle and groan,
soak my bed with weeping night after night;
my eyes are troubled with sadness:
I grow older as my enemies watch.
Leave me, all who do evil,
for the Lord has heard my voice as I wept.
The Lord listened to my prayer,
granted me what I asked.
Let my enemies be ashamed and confounded:
let shame and confusion overtake them soon.

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.

Lord, save me in your merciful love.


Psalm 9A (9)
Thanksgiving for victory

The Lord is a stronghold for the oppressed in times of distress.

I will thank you, Lord, with all my heart;
I will tell of your wonders.
I will rejoice in you and triumph,
make music to your name, O Most High.
Because my enemies are in full retreat;
they stumble and perish at your presence.
For you have given judgement in my favour,
upheld my case,
taken your seat on the throne of judgement.
You have rebuked the nations,
condemned the wicked,
wiped out their name for ever and for ever.
My enemies are no more;
their land is a desert for ever.
You have demolished their cities,
their very memory is wiped away.
But the Lord will reign for ever:
he has made his throne his judgement-seat.
He himself will judge the whole world in justice,
judge the peoples impartially.
The Lord will be a refuge for the oppressed,
a refuge in good times and in bad.
Let them put their hope in you, those who know your name;
for you, Lord, have never abandoned those who seek you.

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.

The Lord is a stronghold for the oppressed in times of distress.


Psalm 9A (9)

I will recount all your praise at the gates of the city of Sion.

Sing to the Lord who dwells in Zion,
proclaim to the nations his loving care.
For he has remembered the poor and avenged them with blood:
he has not forgotten the cry of the weak.
Take pity on me, Lord:
see how my enemies torment me.
You raise me up from the gates of death,
and I will proclaim your praise at the gates of the daughter of Zion;
I will rejoice in your salvation.
The nations have fallen into the pit that they made,
into the very trap that they set: their feet are caught fast.
The Lord’s justice shines forth:
the sinner is trapped by his very own action.
Sinners will go down to the underworld,
and all nations that forget God.
For the weak will not always be forgotten:
the hope of the weak will never perish.
Rise up, Lord, let men not be complacent:
let the nations come before you to be judged.
Put fear into them, Lord:
let them know that they are only men.

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.

I will recount all your praise at the gates of the city of Sion.


Show us your saving mercy, Lord,
– and give us your saving help.


Reading
Isaiah 1:21-27,2:1-5

What a harlot she has become,
the faithful city,
Zion, that was all justice!
Once integrity lived there,
but now assassins.
Your silver has turned into dross,
your wine is watered.
Your princes are rebels,
accomplices of thieves.
All are greedy for profit
and chase after bribes.
They show no justice to the orphan,
the cause of the widow is never heard.
Therefore-- it is the Lord, the Lord of Hosts who speaks,
the Mighty One of Israel,
‘Ah, I will outdo my enemies,
avenge myself on my foes.
‘I will turn my hand against you,
I will smelt away your dross in the furnace,
I will remove all your base metal from you.
‘I will restore your judges as of old,
your counsellors as in bygone days.
Then you will be called City of Integrity,
Faithful City.’
Zion will be redeemed by justice,
and her penitents by integrity.
The vision of Isaiah son of Amoz, concerning Judah and Jerusalem.
In the days to come
the mountain of the Temple of the Lord
shall tower above the mountains
and be lifted higher than the hills.
All the nations will stream to it,
peoples without number will come to it; and they will say:
‘Come, let us go up to the mountain of the Lord,
to the Temple of the God of Jacob
that he may teach us his ways
so that we may walk in his paths;
since the Law will go out from Zion,
and the oracle of the Lord from Jerusalem.’
He will wield authority over the nations
and adjudicate between many peoples;
these will hammer their swords into ploughshares,
their spears into sickles.
Nation will not lift sword against nation,
there will be no more training for war.
O House of Jacob, come,
let us walk in the light of the Lord.


Responsory

Come, let us go up to the mountain of the Lord,
to the house of the God of Jacob:
he will teach us his ways and we will walk in his paths.

The Messiah is coming – he who is called Christ.
When he comes,
he will show us all things:
he will teach us his ways and we will walk in his paths.


Reading
A letter from St Francis Xavier to St Ignatius

Woe to me if I do not preach the Gospel

We have visited the villages of the new converts who accepted the Christian religion a few years ago. No Portuguese live here, the country is so utterly barren and poor. The native Christians have no priests. They know only that they are Christians. There is nobody to say Mass for them; 
nobody to teach them the Creed, the Our Father, the Hail Mary and the Commandments of God’s Law.

I have not stopped since the day I arrived. I conscientiously made the rounds of the villages. I bathed in the sacred waters all the children who had not yet been baptized. This means that I have purified a very large number of children so young that, as the saying goes, they could not tell their right hand from their left. The older children would not let me say my Office or eat or sleep until I taught them one prayer or another. 
Then I began to understand: “The kingdom of heaven belongs to such as these.”

I could not refuse so devout a request without failing in devotion myself. I taught them, first the confession of faith in the Father, the Son and the Holy Spirit, then the Apostles’ Creed, the Our Father and Hail Mary. I noticed among them persons of great intelligence. 
If only someone could educate them in the Christian way of life, I have no doubt that they would make excellent Christians.

Many, many people hereabouts are not becoming Christians for one reason only: there is nobody to make them Christians. Again and again I have thought of going round the universities of Europe, especially Paris, and everywhere crying out like a madman, riveting the attention of those with more learning than charity: “What a tragedy: how many souls are being shut out of heaven and falling into hell, thanks to you!”

I wish they would work as hard at this as they do at their books, 
and so settle their account with God for their learning and the talents entrusted to them.

This thought would certainly stir most of them to meditate on spiritual realities, to listen actively to what God is saying to them. They would forget their own desires, their human affairs, and give themselves over entirely to God’s will and his choice. They would cry out with all their heart: 
Lord, I am here! What do you want me to do? Send me anywhere you like – even to India.


Responsory

The harvest is rich but the labourers are few,
so ask the Lord of the harvest to send labourers to his harvest.

You will receive power when the Holy Spirit comes on you,
and then you will be my witnesses to the ends of the earth;
so ask the Lord of the harvest to send labourers to his harvest.

Let us pray.

Lord God, you won so many peoples to yourself
by the preaching of Saint Francis Xavier.
Give us the same zeal that he had for the faith,
and let your Church rejoice
and see the virtue and number of her children increase
throughout the world.
Through our Lord Jesus Christ, your Son,
who lives and reigns with you and the Holy Spirit,
one God, for ever and ever.
Amen.

Let us bless the Lord.
– Thanks be to God.