Wednesday, June 24, 2015



Grant, we pray, almighty God,
that your family may walk in the way of salvation
and, attentive to what Saint John the Precursor urged,
may come safely to the One he foretold,
our Lord Jesus Christ.
Who lives and reigns with you in the unity of the Holy Spirit,
one God, forever and ever.


Solemnity of the Nativity of Saint John the Baptist 
Mass during the Day

Reading 1
IS 49:1-6

Hear me, O coastlands,
listen, O distant peoples.
The LORD called me from birth,
from my mother’s womb he gave me my name.
He made of me a sharp-edged sword
and concealed me in the shadow of his arm.
He made me a polished arrow,
in his quiver he hid me.
You are my servant, he said to me,
Israel, through whom I show my glory.

Though I thought I had toiled in vain,
and for nothing, uselessly, spent my strength,
yet my reward is with the LORD,
my recompense is with my God.
For now the LORD has spoken
who formed me as his servant from the womb,
that Jacob may be brought back to him
and Israel gathered to him;
and I am made glorious in the sight of the LORD,
and my God is now my strength!
It is too little, he says, for you to be my servant,
to raise up the tribes of Jacob,
and restore the survivors of Israel;
I will make you a light to the nations,
that my salvation may reach to the ends of the earth.

Responsorial Psalm
PS 139:1B-3, 13-14AB, 14C-15

R. I praise you, for I am wonderfully made.

O LORD, you have probed me, you know me:
you know when I sit and when I stand;
you understand my thoughts from afar.
My journeys and my rest you scrutinize,
with all my ways you are familiar.

R. I praise you for I am wonderfully made.

Truly you have formed my inmost being;
you knit me in my mother’s womb.
I give you thanks that I am fearfully, wonderfully made;
wonderful are your works.

R. I praise you, for I am wonderfully made.

My soul also you knew full well;
nor was my frame unknown to you
When I was made in secret,
when I was fashioned in the depths of the earth.

R. I praise you, for I am wonderfully made.

Reading 2
ACTS 13:22-26

In those days, Paul said:

“God raised up David as king;
of him God testified,
I have found David, son of Jesse, a man after my own heart;
he will carry out my every wish.
From this man’s descendants God, according to his promise,
has brought to Israel a savior, Jesus.
John heralded his coming by proclaiming a baptism of repentance
to all the people of Israel;
and as John was completing his course, he would say,
‘What do you suppose that I am? I am not he.
Behold, one is coming after me;
I am not worthy to unfasten the sandals of his feet.’

“My brothers, sons of the family of Abraham,
and those others among you who are God-fearing,
to us this word of salvation has been sent.”

LK 1:76

R. Alleluia, alleluia.

You, child, will be called prophet of the Most High,
for you will go before the Lord to prepare his way.

R. Alleluia, alleluia.

LK 1:57-66, 80

When the time arrived for Elizabeth to have her child
she gave birth to a son.
Her neighbors and relatives heard
that the Lord had shown his great mercy toward her,
and they rejoiced with her.
When they came on the eighth day to circumcise the child,
they were going to call him Zechariah after his father,
but his mother said in reply,
“No. He will be called John.”
But they answered her,
“There is no one among your relatives who has this name.”
So they made signs, asking his father what he wished him to be called.
He asked for a tablet and wrote, “John is his name,”
and all were amazed.
Immediately his mouth was opened, his tongue freed,
and he spoke blessing God.
Then fear came upon all their neighbors,
and all these matters were discussed
throughout the hill country of Judea.
All who heard these things took them to heart, saying,
“What, then, will this child be?”
For surely the hand of the Lord was with him.
The child grew and became strong in spirit,
and he was in the desert until the day
of his manifestation to Israel.

June 24

Solemnity of the Nativity of St. John the Baptist

Jesus called John the greatest of all those who had preceded him: 
“I tell you, among those born of women, no one is greater than John....” 
But John would have agreed completely with what Jesus added: “
[Y]et the least in the kingdom of God is greater than he” (Luke 7:28).

John spent his time in the desert, an ascetic. He began to announce the coming of the Kingdom, 
and to call everyone to a fundamental reformation of life.

His purpose was to prepare the way for Jesus. His Baptism, he said, was for repentance. But One would come who would baptize with the Holy Spirit and fire. John is not worthy even to carry his sandals. His attitude toward Jesus was: 
“He must increase; I must decrease” (John 3:30).

John was humbled to find among the crowd of sinners who came to be baptized the one whom he already knew to be the Messiah. “I need to be baptized by you” (Matthew 3:14b). But Jesus insisted, “Allow it now, for thus it is fitting for us to fulfill all righteousness” (Matthew 3:15b). Jesus, true and humble human as well as eternal God, was eager to do what was required of any good Jew. John thus publicly entered the community of those awaiting the Messiah. But making himself part of that community, he made it truly messianic.

The greatness of John, his pivotal place in the history of salvation, is seen in the great emphasis Luke gives to the announcement of his birth and the event itself—both made prominently parallel to the same occurrences in the life of Jesus. John attracted countless people (“all Judea”) to the banks of the Jordan, and it occurred to some people that he might be the Messiah. 
But he constantly deferred to Jesus, even to sending away some of his followers to become the first disciples of Jesus.

Perhaps John’s idea of the coming of the Kingdom of God was not being perfectly fulfilled in the public ministry of Jesus. For whatever reason, he sent his disciples (when he was in prison) to ask Jesus if he was the Messiah. Jesus’ answer showed that the Messiah was to be a figure like that of the Suffering Servant in Isaiah (chapters 49 through 53). 
John himself would share in the pattern of messianic suffering, losing his life to the revenge of Herodias.

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

Invitatory Psalm
Psalm 99 (100)

John rejoiced and pointed out the Lamb of God: 

come, let us adore him.

Rejoice in the Lord, all the earth,
and serve him with joy.
Exult as you enter his presence.

John rejoiced and pointed out the Lamb of God: 

come, let us adore him.

Know that the Lord is God.
He made us and we are his
– his people, the sheep of his flock.

John rejoiced and pointed out the Lamb of God: 

come, let us adore him.

Cry out his praises as you enter his gates,
fill his courtyards with songs.
Proclaim him and bless his name;
for the Lord is our delight.
His mercy lasts forever,
his faithfulness through all the ages.

John rejoiced and pointed out the Lamb of God: 

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.

John rejoiced and pointed out the Lamb of God: 

come, let us adore him.


O God, creation’s secret force,
yourself unmoved, all motion’s source,
who from the morn till evening ray
through all its changes guide the day:
Grant us, when this short life is past,
the glorious evening that shall last;
that, by a holy death attained,
eternal glory may be gained.
To God the Father, God the Son,
and God the Spirit, Three in One,
may every tongue and nation raise
an endless song of thankful praise!

St Ambrose of Milan

Psalm 20 (21)
Thanksgiving for victory

The Lord called me before I was born,
from my mother’s womb he pronounced my name.

Lord, the king will rejoice in your strength,
he will triumph in your saving power.
You have granted him his heart’s desire,
you have not denied the wish that he spoke.
For you showered him with blessings
even before he asked for them.
You have placed a crown of purest gold upon his head.
He asked you for life,
and you granted it to him,
length of days for ever and forever.
Great is his glory through your help:
you cover him with splendour and majesty.
You lay a blessing upon him that will last for ever,
you make him rejoice in joy before you.
For the king hopes in the Lord,
and through the kindness of the Most High he will not be shaken.
Stand high above us, Lord, in your power;
and we will sing and celebrate your might.

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 called me before I was born,
from my mother’s womb he pronounced my name.

Psalm 91 (92)
Praise of God, the Creator

The Lord made my mouth a sharp sword,
and protected me with his outstretched arm.

It is good to praise the Lord,
and to sing psalms to your name, O Most High,
to proclaim your mercy in the morning
and your faithfulness by night;
on the ten-stringed lyre and the harp,
with songs upon the lyre.
For you give me joy, Lord, in your creation:
I rejoice in the work of your hands.
How great are your works, O Lord,
how immeasurably deep your thoughts.
The fool does not hear,
the slow-witted do not understand.
When the wicked sprout up like grass,
and the doers of evil are in full bloom,
it will come to nothing, for they will perish for ever and ever;
but you, Lord, are the Highest eternally.

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 made my mouth a sharp sword,
and protected me with his outstretched arm.

Psalm 91 (92)

This is the testimony of John:
there is one coming after me who existed before me.

For behold, Lord, your enemies,
how your enemies will perish,
how wrongdoers will be scattered.
You will give me strength as the wild oxen have;
I have been anointed with the purest oil.
I will look down upon my enemies,
and hear the plans of those who plot evil against me.
The just will flourish like the palm tree,
grow tall like the cedar of Lebanon.
They will be planted in the house of the Lord;
in the courts of our God they will flourish.
They will bear fruit even when old,
fresh and luxuriant through all their days.
They will proclaim how just is the Lord, my refuge,
for in him there is no unrighteousness.

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.

This is the testimony of John:
there is one coming after me who existed before me.

He came to bear witness to the light,
– so that all might believe through him.

First Reading
Jeremiah 1:4-10,17-19

The word of the Lord was addressed to me, saying,
‘Before I formed you in the womb I knew you;
before you came to birth I consecrated you;
I have appointed you as prophet to the nations.’
I said, ‘Ah, Lord; look, I do not know how to speak: I am a child!’
But the Lord replied,
‘Do not say, “I am a child.”
Go now to those to whom I send you
and, say whatever I command you.
Do not be afraid of them,
for I am with you to protect you –
it is the Lord who speaks!’
Then the Lord put out his hand and touched my mouth and said to me:
‘There! I am putting my words into your mouth.
Look, today I am setting you
over nations and over kingdoms,
to tear up and to knock down,
to destroy and to overthrow,
to build and to plant.
‘So now brace yourself for action.
Stand up and tell them
all I command you.
Do not be dismayed at their presence,
or in their presence I will make you dismayed.
I, for my part, today will make you
into a fortified city,
a pillar of iron,
and a wall of bronze
to confront all this land:
the kings of Judah, its princes,
its priests and the country people.
They will fight against you
but shall not overcome you,
for I am with you to deliver you –
it is the Lord who speaks.’


Before I formed you in the womb I knew you;
before you were born I consecrated you.
I have appointed you a prophet to the nations.

I am putting my words into your mouth:
I am setting you over nations and kingdoms.
I have appointed you a prophet to the nations.

Second Reading
From a sermon
by Saint Augustine

The voice of one crying in the wilderness

The Church observes the birth of John as in some way sacred; and you will not find any other of the great men of old whose birth we celebrate officially. We celebrate John’s, as we celebrate Christ’s. This point cannot be passed over in silence, and if I may not perhaps be able to explain it in the way that such an important matter deserves, 
it is still worth thinking about it a little more deeply and fruitfully than usual.

John is born of an old woman who is barren; Christ is born of a young woman who is a virgin. That John will be born is not believed, and his father is struck dumb; that Christ will be born is believed, and he is conceived by faith.

I have proposed some matters for inquiry, and listed in advance some things that need to be discussed. I have introduced these points even if we are not up to examining all the twists and turns of such a great mystery, either for lack of capacity or for lack of time. You will be taught much better by the one who speaks in you even when I am not here; the one about whom you think loving thoughts, the one whom you have taken into your hearts and whose temple you have become.

John, it seems, has been inserted as a kind of boundary between the two Testaments, the Old and the New. That he is somehow or other a boundary is something that the Lord himself indicates when he says, The Law and the prophets were until John. So he represents the old and heralds the new. Because he represents the old, he is born of an elderly couple; because he represents the new, he is revealed as a prophet in his mother’s womb. You will remember that, before he was born, at Mary’s arrival he leapt in his mother’s womb. Already he had been marked out there, designated before he was born; it was already shown whose forerunner he would be, even before he saw him. These are divine matters, and exceed the measure of human frailty. 
Finally, he is born, he receives a name, and his father’s tongue is loosed.

Zachary is struck dumb and loses his voice, until John, the Lord’s forerunner, is born and releases his voice for him. What does Zachary’s silence mean, but that prophecy was obscure and, before the proclamation of Christ, somehow concealed and shut up? It is released and opened up by his arrival, it becomes clear when the one who was being prophesied is about to come. The releasing of Zachary’s voice at the birth of John has the same significance as the tearing of the veil of the Temple at the crucifixion of Christ. If John were meant to proclaim himself, he would not be opening Zachary’s mouth. The tongue is released because a voice is being born – for when John was already heralding the Lord, he was asked, 
Who are you and he replied I am the voice of one crying in the wilderness.

John is the voice, but the Lord in the beginning was the Word. 
John is a voice for a time, but Christ is the eternal Word from the beginning.


You, little child, you shall be called a prophet of God, the Most High.
You shall go ahead of the Lord to prepare his ways before him.

You shall make known to his people their salvation through forgiveness of all their sins.
You shall go ahead of the Lord to prepare his ways before him.

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.

Let us pray.

Almighty God and Father,
you sent Saint John the Baptist to the people of Israel
to make them ready for Christ the Lord.
Give us the grace of joy in the Spirit,
and guide the hearts of all the faithful
in the way of salvation and peace.
Through our Lord Jesus Christ, your Son,
who lives and reigns with you and the Holy Spirit,
one God, for ever and ever.

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