Thursday, December 19, 2013


To Our Lady, Mother of Advent

To Our Lady,
Mother of Advent O Mother of our Advent,
be with us and see to it that he will remain with us
in this difficult Advent of the struggles for truth and hope,
for justice and peace:
He, alone, Emmanuel.


Thursday of Third Week of Advent

JGS 13:2-7, 24-25A

There was a certain man from Zorah, of the clan of the Danites,
whose name was Manoah.
His wife was barren and had borne no children.
An angel of the LORD appeared to the woman and said to her,
“Though you are barren and have had no children,
yet you will conceive and bear a son.
Now, then, be careful to take no wine or strong drink
and to eat nothing unclean.
As for the son you will conceive and bear,
no razor shall touch his head,
for this boy is to be consecrated to God from the womb.
It is he who will begin the deliverance of Israel
from the power of the Philistines.”

The woman went and told her husband,
“A man of God came to me;
he had the appearance of an angel of God, terrible indeed.
I did not ask him where he came from, nor did he tell me his name.
But he said to me,
‘You will be with child and will bear a son.
So take neither wine nor strong drink, and eat nothing unclean.
For the boy shall be consecrated to God from the womb,
until the day of his death.’”

The woman bore a son and named him Samson.
The boy grew up and the LORD blessed him;
the Spirit of the LORD stirred him.

Responsorial Psalm
PS 71:3-4A, 5-6AB, 16-17

R. My mouth shall be filled with your praise,
and I will sing your glory!

Be my rock of refuge,
a stronghold to give me safety,
for you are my rock and my fortress.
O my God, rescue me from the hand of the wicked.

R. My mouth shall be filled with your praise,
and I will sing your glory!

For you are my hope, O LORD;
my trust, O God, from my youth.
On you I depend from birth;
from my mother’s womb you are my strength.

R. My mouth shall be filled with your praise,
and I will sing your glory!

I will treat of the mighty works of the LORD;
O God, I will tell of your singular justice.
O God, you have taught me from my youth,
and till the present I proclaim your wondrous deeds.

R. My mouth shall be filled with your praise,
and I will sing your glory!

Gospel LK 1:5-25

In the days of Herod, King of Judea,
there was a priest named Zechariah
of the priestly division of Abijah;
his wife was from the daughters of Aaron,
and her name was Elizabeth.
Both were righteous in the eyes of God,
observing all the commandments
and ordinances of the Lord blamelessly.
But they had no child, because Elizabeth was barren
and both were advanced in years.

Once when he was serving as priest
in his division’s turn before God,
according to the practice of the priestly service,
he was chosen by lot
to enter the sanctuary of the Lord to burn incense.
Then, when the whole assembly of the people was praying outside
at the hour of the incense offering,
the angel of the Lord appeared to him,
standing at the right of the altar of incense.
Zechariah was troubled by what he saw, and fear came upon him.

But the angel said to him, “Do not be afraid, Zechariah,
because your prayer has been heard.
Your wife Elizabeth will bear you a son,
and you shall name him John.
And you will have joy and gladness,
and many will rejoice at his birth,
for he will be great in the sight of the Lord.
He will drink neither wine nor strong drink.
He will be filled with the Holy Spirit even from his mother’s womb,
and he will turn many of the children of Israel
to the Lord their God.
He will go before him in the spirit and power of Elijah
to turn the hearts of fathers toward children
and the disobedient to the understanding of the righteous,
to prepare a people fit for the Lord.”

Then Zechariah said to the angel,
“How shall I know this?
For I am an old man, and my wife is advanced in years.”
And the angel said to him in reply,
“I am Gabriel, who stand before God.
I was sent to speak to you and to announce to you this good news.
But now you will be speechless and unable to talk
until the day these things take place,
because you did not believe my words,
which will be fulfilled at their proper time.”
Meanwhile the people were waiting for Zechariah
and were amazed that he stayed so long in the sanctuary.
But when he came out, he was unable to speak to them,
and they realized that he had seen a vision in the sanctuary.
He was gesturing to them but remained mute.

Then, when his days of ministry were completed, he went home.

After this time his wife Elizabeth conceived,
and she went into seclusion for five months, saying,
“So has the Lord done for me at a time when he has seen fit
to take away my disgrace before others.”


December 19

Blessed Pope Urban V (1310-1370)

In 1362, the man elected pope declined the office. When the cardinals could not find another person among them for that important office, they turned to a relative stranger: the holy person we honor today.

The new Pope Urban V proved a wise choice. A Benedictine monk and canon lawyer, he was deeply spiritual and brilliant. He lived simply and modestly, which did not always earn him friends among clergymen who had become used to comfort and privilege. Still, he pressed for reform and saw to the restoration of churches and monasteries. Except for a brief period he spent most of his eight years as pope living away from Rome at Avignon, 
seat of the papacy from 1309 until shortly after his death.

He came close but was not able to achieve one of his biggest goals—reuniting the Eastern and Western churches.

As pope, Urban continued to follow the Benedictine Rule. 
Shortly before his death in 1370 
he asked to be moved from the papal palace to the nearby home of his brother 
so he could say goodbye to the ordinary people he had so often helped.


O Lord, open my lips,
and my mouth will proclaim Your Praise!

Invitatory Psalm
Psalm 66 (67)

The Lord is at hand:
come, let us adore him.

O God, take pity on us and bless us,
and let your face shine upon us,
so that your ways may be known across the world,
and all nations learn of your salvation.

The Lord is at hand:
come, let us adore him.

Let the peoples praise you, O God,
let all the peoples praise you.
Let the nations be glad and rejoice,
for you judge the peoples with fairness
and you guide the nations of the earth.

The Lord is at hand:
come, let us adore him.

Let the peoples praise you, O God,
let all the peoples praise you.
The earth has produced its harvest:
may God, our God, bless us.
May God bless us,
may the whole world revere him.

The Lord is at hand:
come, let us adore him.

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 Lord is at hand:
come, let us adore him.


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 88 (89)
A lament at the ruin of the house of David

Pay heed, Lord,
and see how we are taunted.

But you have spurned and rejected him;
you are enraged against your anointed.
You have repudiated the covenant of your servant,
you have trampled his crown in the dust.
You have demolished his walls
and laid his fortifications in ruins.
Anyone who passes can despoil him;
he is a mockery among his neighbors.
You have strengthened the arm of those who oppress him,
you have gladdened the hearts of his enemies.
You have turned back the sharp edge of his sword;
you have deprived him of your help in battle.
You have put an end to his splendor,
and cast his throne to the ground.
You have cut short the days of his youth;
you have covered him from head to foot in shame.

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.

Pay heed, Lord,
and see how we are taunted.

Psalm 88 (89)

I am the root and stock of David;
I am the splendid morning star.

How long, O Lord, will you hide yourself? For ever?
Will your anger always burn like fire?
Remember how short is my time.
Was it truly so pointless, your creation of man?
Who is the man who can live and not die,
who can save his life from the grasp of the underworld?
Where are the kindnesses you showed us of old?
Where is the truth of your oath to David?
Remember, Lord, how your servants are taunted,
the taunts I bear in my bosom, the taunts of the nations –
the insults of your enemies, Lord,
the insults that follow the steps of your anointed!

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.

I am the root and stock of David;
I am the splendid morning star.

Psalm 89 (90)
Let the Lord's glory shine upon us

Our years pass like grass;
but you, God, are without beginning or end.

Lord, you have been our refuge
from generation to generation.
Before the mountains were born,
before earth and heaven were conceived,
from all time to all time, you are God.
You turn men into dust,
you say to them “go back, children of men.”
A thousand years in your sight
are like yesterday, that has passed;
like a short watch in the night.
When you take them away, they will be nothing but a dream;
like the grass that sprouts in the morning:
in the morning it grows and flowers,
in the evening it withers and dries.
For we are made weak by your anger,
thrown into confusion by your wrath.
You have gazed upon our transgressions;
the light of your face illuminates our secrets.
All our days vanish in your anger,
we use up our years in a single breath.
Seventy years are what we have,
or eighty for the stronger ones;
and most of that is labour and sadness –
quickly they pass, and we are gone.
Who can comprehend the power of your wrath?
Who can behold the violence of your anger?
Teach us to reckon our days like this,
so that our hearts may be led at last to wisdom.
Turn to us, Lord, how long must we wait?
Let your servants call on you and be answered.
Fill us with your kindness in the morning,
and we shall rejoice and be glad all the days of our life.
Give us joy for as long as you afflicted us,
for all the years when we suffered.
Let your servants see your great works,
and let their children see your glory.
Let the glory of the Lord God be upon us:
make firm the work of your hands.
Make firm the work of your hands.

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.

Our years pass like grass;
but you, God, are without beginning or end.

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

First Reading
Isaiah 47:1,3-15

Down with you! Sit in the dust,
virgin, daughter of Babylon.
Sit on the ground, dethroned,
daughter of the Chaldaeans.
Never again will you be called
tender and delicate.
Our redeemer, the Lord of Hosts his name,
the Holy One of Israel, says:
Sit in silence and creep into shadows,
daughter of the Chaldaeans,
for you will no longer be called
sovereign lady of the kingdoms.
I was angry with my people,
I had profaned my heritage.
I had surrendered it into your hands,
but you showed them no mercy.
On the aged you laid
your crushing yoke.
You said, ‘For ever
I shall be sovereign lady.’
You never took these things to heart
or pondered on their outcome.
So listen now, voluptuous woman,
lolling at ease
and saying to yourself,
‘I, and none besides me.
I shall never be widowed,
never know loss of children.’
Yet both these things shall happen to you
both suddenly and on the same day.
Loss of children, widowhood, at once
will come to you;
in spite of all your witchcraft
and the power of all your spells.
You were bold in your wickedness and said,
‘There is no one to see me.’
That wisdom and knowledge of yours
led you astray.
You said to yourself,
‘I, and none besides me.’
A calamity shall fall on you
which you will not be able to charm away,
a disaster shall overtake you
which you will not be able to avert,
unforeseen ruin
will suddenly descend on you.
Keep to your spells then,
and all your sorceries,
for which you have worn yourself out since your youth.
Do you think they will help you?
Do you think they will make anyone nervous?
You have spent weary hours with your many advisers.
Let them come forward now
and save you, these who analyze the heavens,
who study the stars
and announce month by month
what will happen to you next.
Oh, they will be like wisps of straw
and the fire will burn them.
They will not save their lives
from the power of the flame.
No embers these, for baking,
no fireside to sit by.
This is what your wizards will be for you,
those men for whom you have worn yourself out since your youth.
They will all go off, each his own way,
powerless to save you.


Shout for joy, you heavens; exult, you earth!
You mountains, break into happy cries!
For the Lord will take pity on those who are afflicted.

Our redeemer,
the Lord of hosts is his name,
the Holy One of Israel,
For the Lord will take pity on those who are afflicted.

Second Reading
The treatise of St Irenaeus "Against Heresies"

The operation of the redeeming Incarnation

God is man’s glory. Man is the vessel which receives God’s action and all his wisdom and power.

Just as a doctor is judged in his care for the sick, so God is revealed in his conduct with men. That is Paul’s reason for saying: God has made the whole world prisoner of unbelief that he may have mercy on all. He was speaking of man, who was disobedient to God, and cast off from immortality, and then found mercy, 
receiving through the Son of God the adoption he brings.

If man, without being puffed up or boastful, has a right belief regarding created things and their divine Creator, who, having given them being, holds them all in his power, and if man perseveres in God’s love, 
and in obedience and gratitude to him, he will receive greater glory from him. 
It will be a glory which will grow ever brighter until he takes on the likeness of the one who died for him.

He it was who took on the likeness of sinful flesh, to condemn sin and rid the flesh of sin, as now condemned. He wanted to invite man to take on his likeness, appointing man an imitator of God, establishing man in a way of life in obedience to the Father that would lead to the vision of God, and endowing man with power to receive the Father. He is the Word of God who dwelt with man and became the Son of Man to open the way for man to receive God, for God to dwell with man, according to the will of the Father.

For this reason the Lord himself gave as the sign of our salvation, the one who was born of the Virgin, Emmanuel. It was the Lord himself who saved them, for of themselves they had no power to be saved. For this reason Paul speaks of the weakness of man, and says: I know that no good dwells in my flesh, meaning that the blessing of our salvation comes not from us but from God. Again, he says: I am a wretched man; who will free me from this body doomed to die? 
Then he speaks of a liberator, thanks to Jesus Christ our Lord.

Isaiah says the same: 
Hands that are feeble, grow strong! 
Knees that are weak, take courage! 
Hearts that are faint, grow strong! 
Fear not; 
see, our God is judgement and he will repay. 
He himself will come and save us. 
He means that we could not be saved of ourselves but only with God’s help.


All nations,
hear the word of the Lord, declare it to the ends of the earth, say to the farthest parts:
‘Our Savior is coming.’
Say this, proclaim it, cry it aloud, say to the farthest parts:
‘Our Savior is coming.’

Let us pray.

Deepen our faith, Lord God,
as we celebrate the great mystery of the incarnation
by which you revealed to the world the splendor of your glory
through the Virgin Mary
when she gave birth to your Son,
who lives and reigns with you in the unity of the Holy Spirit,
God for ever and ever.

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