Thursday, January 5, 2017


Cf. Jn 1: 1

In the beginning and before all ages, the Word was God
and he humbled himself to be born the Savior of the world.


O God, who by the Nativity of your Only Begotten Son
wondrously began for your people the work of redemption,
grant, we pray, to your servants such firmness of faith,
that by his guidance they may attain the glorious prize you have promised.
Through our Lord Jesus Christ, your Son,
who lives and reigns with you in the unity of the Holy Spirit,
one God, forever and ever.


Memorial of Saint John Neumann

1 JN 3:11-21


This is the message you have heard from the beginning:
we should love one another,
unlike Cain who belonged to the Evil One
and slaughtered his brother.
Why did he slaughter him?
Because his own works were evil,
and those of his brother righteous.
Do not be amazed, then, brothers and sisters, if the world hates you.
We know that we have passed from death to life
because we love our brothers.
Whoever does not love remains in death.
Everyone who hates his brother is a murderer,
and you know that no murderer has eternal life remaining in him.
The way we came to know love
was that he laid down his life for us;
so we ought to lay down our lives for our brothers.
If someone who has worldly means
sees a brother in need and refuses him compassion,
how can the love of God remain in him?
Children, let us love not in word or speech
but in deed and truth.

Now this is how we shall know that we belong to the truth
and reassure our hearts before him
in whatever our hearts condemn,
for God is greater than our hearts and knows everything.
Beloved, if our hearts do not condemn us,
we have confidence in God.

Responsorial Psalm
PS 100:1B-2, 3, 4, 5

R. Let all the earth cry out to God with joy.

Sing joyfully to the LORD, all you lands;
serve the LORD with gladness;
come before him with joyful song.

Know that the LORD is God;
he made us, his we are;
his people, the flock he tends.

R. Let all the earth cry out to God with joy.

Enter his gates with thanksgiving,
his courts with praise;
Give thanks to him; bless his name.

R. Let all the earth cry out to God with joy.

The LORD is good:
the LORD, whose kindness endures forever,
and his faithfulness, to all generations.

R. Let all the earth cry out to God with joy.


R. Alleluia, alleluia.

A holy day has dawned upon us.
Come, you nations, and adore the Lord.
Today a great light has come upon the earth.

R. Alleluia, alleluia.

JN 1:43-51

Jesus decided to go to Galilee, and he found Philip.
And Jesus said to him,

"Follow me."

Now Philip was from Bethsaida, the town of Andrew and Peter.
Philip found Nathanael and told him,
"We have found the one about whom Moses wrote in the law,
and also the prophets, Jesus, son of Joseph, from Nazareth."
But Nathanael said to him,
"Can anything good come from Nazareth?"
Philip said to him,
"Come and see."

Jesus saw Nathanael coming toward him and said of him,

"Here is a true child of Israel.
There is no duplicity in him."

Nathanael said to him,
"How do you know me?"

Jesus answered and said to him,

"Before Philip called you, I saw you under the fig tree."

Nathanael answered him,
"Rabbi, you are the Son of God; you are the King of Israel."

Jesus answered and said to him,

"Do you believe
because I told you that I saw you under the fig tree?
You will see greater things than this."

And he said to him,

"Amen, amen, I say to you,
you will see the sky opened and the angels of God
ascending and descending on the Son of Man."

January 5

Saint John Neumann (1811 - 1860)

This American saint was born in Bohemia in 1811. He was looking forward to being ordained in 1835 when the bishop decided there would be no more ordinations. It is difficult for us to imagine now, but Bohemia was overstocked with priests. John wrote to bishops all over Europe but the story was the same everywhere no one wanted any more priests.  John was sure he was called to be a priest but all the doors to follow that vocation seemed to close in his face.

But John didn't give up. He had learned English by working in a factory with English-speaking workers so he wrote to the bishops in America. Finally, the bishop in New York agreed to ordain him. 
In order to follow God's call to the priesthood John would have to leave his home forever and travel across the ocean to a new and rugged land.

In New York, John was one of 36 priests for 200,000 Catholics. John's parish in western New York stretched from Lake Ontario to Pennsylvania. His church had no steeple or floor but that didn't matter because John spent most of his time traveling from village to village, climbing mountains to visit the sick, staying in garrets and taverns to teach, and celebrating the Mass at kitchen tables.

Because of the work and the isolation of his parish, 
John longed for community and so joined the Redemptorists, 
a congregation of priests and brothers dedicated to helping the poor and most abandoned.

John was appointed bishop of Philadelphia in 1852. As bishop, he was the first to organize a diocesan Catholic school system. A founder of Catholic education in this country, 
he increased the number of Catholic schools in his diocese from two to 100.

John never lost his love and concern for the people -- something that may have bothered the elite of Philadelphia. On one visit to a rural parish, the parish priest picked him up in a manure wagon. Seated on a plank stretched over the wagon's contents, John joked, 
"Have you ever seen such an entourage for a bishop!"

The ability to learn languages that had brought him to America led him to learn Spanish, French, Italian, and Dutch so he could hear confessions in at least six languages. When Irish immigration started, he learned Gaelic so well that one Irish woman remarked, 
"Isn't it grand that we have an Irish bishop!"

Once on a visit to Germany, he came back to the house he was staying in soaked by rain. When his host suggested he change his shoes, John remarked, "The only way I could change my shoes is by putting the left one on the right foot and the right one on the left foot. This is the only pair I own."

John died on January 5, 1860 at the age of 48.

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

Invitatory Psalm
Psalm 66 (67)

Christ has been born for us:
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.

Christ has been born for us:
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.

Christ has been born for us:
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.

Christ has been born for us:
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.

Christ has been born for us:
come, let us adore him.


Jesu, the Ransomer of man,
who, ere created light began,
didst from the sovereign Father spring,
his power and glory equalling!
Salvation’s author, call to mind
how, taking form of humankind,
born of a Virgin undefiled,
thou in man’s flesh becam’st a Child.
The heavens above, the rolling main
and all that earth’s wide realms contain,
with joyous voice now loudly sing
the glory of their newborn King.
And we who, by thy precious Blood
from sin redeemed, are marked for God,
on this the day that saw thy birth,
sing the new song of ransomed earth.
O Lord, the Virgin-born, to Thee
eternal praise and glory be,
whom with the Father we adore
and Holy Ghost forevermore.

Psalm 36 (37)
The fate of the evil and the righteous

Commit your life to the Lord,
and he will act on your behalf.

Do not envy the wicked;
do not be jealous of those that do evil.
They will dry up as quickly as hay;
they will wither like the grass.
Put your trust in the Lord and do good,
and your land and habitation will be secure.
Take your delight in the Lord,
and he will give you what your heart desires.
Entrust your journey to the Lord, and hope in him:
and he will act.
He will make your uprightness shine like the light,
your judgement like the sun at noon.
Take your rest in the Lord, and hope in him:
do not envy the one who thrives in his own way,
the man who weaves plots.
Abstain from wrath, abandon anger:
do not envy him who turns to evil,
for those who do evil will be destroyed,
but those on the side of the Lord
will inherit the earth.
A moment yet – and the sinner will be gone:
you will look where he was and find nothing.
But the needy will inherit the land
and delight in abundant peace.

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.

Commit your life to the Lord,
and he will act on your behalf.

Psalm 36 (37)

Turn away from evil and do good:
the Lord will support the just.

The wicked will plot against the righteous
and gnash his teeth at him;
but the Lord will deride him in his turn,
for the Lord has seen what awaits him.
The wicked have pulled out their swords,
the wicked have drawn their bows,
to throw down the poor and the destitute,
to murder whoever follows the straight path.
But their swords will enter their own hearts,
and their bows will splinter.
For the righteous, the little they have is better
than the abundant wealth of the wicked.
The limbs of the wicked will be broken
while the Lord gives his strength to the just.
The Lord knows when the day of the perfect will come;
and their inheritance will be eternal.
They will not be troubled in evil times,
and in times of famine they will have more than enough.
For the wicked will perish:
the enemies of the Lord will be like the flowers of the fields,
and like smoke they will vanish away.
The wicked man borrows and does not return;
but the righteous takes pity and gives.
The blessed ones of the Lord will inherit the earth,
but those whom he curses will be cut off.
It is the Lord who strengthens the steps of man
and chooses his path.
Even if he trips he will not fall flat,
for the Lord is holding his hand.
I was young and I have grown old,
but I have not seen the righteous man abandoned
nor his children seeking for bread.
All day long he takes pity and lends,
and his seed will be blessed.
Shun evil and do good,
and you will live for ever.
For the Lord loves right judgement,
and will not abandon his chosen ones.
The unjust will be destroyed forever,
and the seed of the wicked will be cut off,
but the righteous will inherit the earth
and live there from age to age.

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.

Turn away from evil and do good:
the Lord will support the just.

Psalm 36 (37)

Wait for the Lord, keep to his way.

The mouth of the righteous will speak wisdom,
and his tongue will utter right judgement.
The law of his God is in his heart
and his steps will not stumble.
The wicked man watches the just
and seeks to kill him;
but the Lord will rescue the just man from his hands
and not condemn the just in the time of judgement.
Put your hope in the Lord and follow his paths,
and he will raise you up and make the land your inheritance,
let you watch as the wicked are cut off.
I have seen the sinner triumph,
flourish like a green cedar,
but he is gone, he is there no longer:
I have looked for him but have not found him.
Preserve innocence, follow uprightness:
for the future belongs to the man of peace.
The unrighteous will be destroyed altogether,
their posterity will be cut off.
The salvation of the righteous is from the Lord,
and their protection in time of trouble.
The Lord will come to their help and free them,
rescue them from the wicked and save them,
because they have put their trust in 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.

Wait for the Lord, keep to his way.

He was the true light
– that enlightens all men.

First Reading
Colossians 4:2-18

Be persevering in your prayers and be thankful as you stay awake to pray. Pray for us especially, asking God to show us opportunities for announcing the message and proclaiming the mystery of Christ, 
for the sake of which I am in chains; pray that I may proclaim it as clearly as I ought.

Be tactful with those who are not Christians and be sure you make the best use of your time with them.
Talk to them agreeably and with a flavour of wit, and try to fit your answers to the needs of each one.

Tychicus will tell you all the news about me. He is a brother I love very much, and a loyal helper and companion in the service of the Lord. I am sending him to you precisely for this purpose: 
to give you news about us and to reassure you. 
With him I am sending Onesimus, that dear and faithful brother who is a fellow citizen of yours.
They will tell you everything that is happening here.

Aristarchus, who is here in prison with me, sends his greetings, and so does Mark, the cousin of Barnabas – you were sent some instructions about him; if he comes to you, give him a warm welcome – and Jesus Justus adds his greetings. Of all those who have come over from the Circumcision, these are the only ones actually working with me for the kingdom of God. They have been a great comfort to me. Epaphras, your fellow citizen, sends his greetings; this servant of Christ Jesus never stops battling for you, praying that you will never lapse but always hold perfectly and securely to the will of God. I can testify for him that he works hard for you, as well as for those at Laodicea and Hierapolis. 
Greetings from my dear friend Luke, the doctor, and also from Demas.

Please give my greetings to the brothers at Laodicea and to Nympha and the church which meets in her house. After this letter has been read among you, send it on to be read in the church of the Laodiceans; and get the letter from Laodicea for you to read yourselves. Give Archippus this message, 
‘Remember the service that the Lord wants you to do, and try to carry it out.’

Here is a greeting in my own handwriting – PAUL. Remember the chains I wear. Grace be with you.


Let us pray for one another,
that God will give us a good opportunity to preach his message,
to reveal the mystery of Christ.

May our mouths declare the praise of God,
may the Lord open our lips,
to reveal the mystery of Christ.

Second Reading
From a sermon
by Saint Augustine

By the vision of the Word our needs will be fulfilled

What human being could know all the treasures of wisdom and knowledge hidden in Christ and concealed under the poverty of his humanity? For being rich, 
he became poor for our sake so that by his poverty we might become rich.
When he assumed our mortality and overcame death he manifested himself in poverty:
his poverty was not a sign of riches lost but a promise of riches to come later.

How great is the abundance of the delights that he conceals from those who fear him but prepares for those that hope in him!

Until what is being prepared arrives, we can understand only in part. To make us worthy of this perfect gift, he, equal to the Father in the form of God, became like us in the form of a servant, and he re-forms us to be like God. The only Son of God, having become the son of Man, 
makes many sons of men the sons of God. Taking on the form of a servant,
he takes those who were born and brought up as servants and gives them the freedom of seeing the face of God.

For we are the children of God, and what we shall become has not yet appeared. We know that, when he appears, we shall be like him, for we shall see him as he is. What, then, are those treasures of wisdom and knowledge? What are those divine riches unless they are what is sufficient for us? 
What is that multitude of delights unless it is what fills us?
Show us the Father and it is sufficient enough for us.

In one of the psalms one of us — either with us or on our behalf — said to him, I shall be filled when your glory appears. But he and the Father are one, and whoever sees him sees the Father also, 
so the Lord of hosts, he is the King of Glory.
He will bring us back, he will show us his face and we shall be saved; 
we shall be filled, and he will be sufficient for us.

Until this comes to pass, until he gives us the sight of what will completely satisfy us, until we drink our fill of him, the fountain of life — while we wander about, apart from him but strong in faith, 
while we hunger and thirst for justice,
longing with a desire too deep for words for the beautiful vision of God,
let us fervently and devotedly celebrate the anniversary of his birth in the form of a servant.

We cannot yet contemplate the fact that he was begotten by the Father before the dawn, so let us hold on to the fact that he was born of the Virgin in the night. 
We do not yet understand how his name endures before the sun,
so let us acknowledge his tabernacle placed in the sun.

Since we do not, as yet, gaze upon the Only Son inseparably united with His Father, let us remember the Bridegroom coming out of his bride-chamber. Since we are not yet ready for the banquet of our Father,
let us acknowledge the manger of our Lord Jesus Christ.


The life was made visible;
we have seen it and we here declare to you the eternal life,
which was with the Father and was made visible to us.

We know that the Son of God has come and has given us the power to know the true God.
We are in the true God,
as we are in his Son,
Jesus Christ.
This is the true God;
this is eternal life.
Which was with the Father and was made visible to us.

Let us pray.

God, our Father,
since through the human birth of your only Son you began in us the work of redemption,
keep us firm in faith,
and with Christ as the Shepherd of our souls
bring us the glory you have promised.
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.