December 24

Office of Readings

The first part of the Office is from the current weekday of Advent:

Week 3

Office of Readings
Office of Readings
Office of Readings
Office of Readings
Office of Readings
Office of Readings

Week 4

Office of Readings
Office of Readings
Office of Readings
Office of Readings
Office of Readings
Office of Readings

The Lord proclaims his word to Jacob.
- His laws and decrees to Israel.


From the book of the prophet Isaiah           51:17-52:2,7-10

The good news is brought to Jerusalem

Awake, awake!
  Arise, O Jerusalem,
You who drank at the Lord's hand
  the cup of his wrath;
Who drained to the dregs
  the bowl of staggering!
She has no one to guide her
  of all the sons she bore;
She has no one to grasp her by the hand,
  of all the sons she reared!--

Your misfortunes are double;
  who is there to condole with you?
Desolation and destruction, famine and sword!
  Who is there to comfort you?
Your sons lie helpless
  at every street corner
  like antelopes in a net.
They are filled with the wrath of the Lord,
  the rebuke of your God.

But now, hear this, O afflicted one,
  drunk, but not with wine,
Thus says the Lord, your Master,
  your God, who defends his people:

See, I am taking from your hand
  the cup of staggering;
The bowl of my wrath
  you shall no longer drink.
I will put it into the hands of your tormentors,
  those who ordered you
  to bow down, that they might walk over you,
While you offered your back like the ground,
  like the street for them to walk on.

Awake, awake!
  Put on your strength, O Zion;
Put on your glorious garments,
  O Jerusalem, holy city.
No longer shall the uncircumcised
  or the unclean enter you.

Shake off the dust,
  ascend to the throne, Jerusalem;
Loose the bonds from your neck,
  O captive daughter Zion!
How beautiful upon the mountains
  are the feet of him who brings glad tidings,
Announcing peace, bearing good news,
  announcing salvation, and saying to Zion,
  "Your God is King!"
Hark! Your watchmen raise a cry,
  together they shout for joy,
For they see directly,
  before their eyes,
  the Lord restoring Zion.

Break out together in song,
  O ruins of Jerusalem!
For the Lord comforts his people,
  he redeems Jerusalem.
The Lord has bared his holy arm
  in the sight of all the nations;
All the ends of the earth will behold
  the salvation of our God.

RESPONSORY           See Ex. 19:10, 11; Dt. 7:15; see Dn, 9:24
Cleanse yourselves, sons of Israel, says the Lord;
for tomorrow your Lord will come down,
- and he will take away from you all weaknesses.

Tomorrow the wickedness of the earth will be destroyed,
and the Savior of the world will rule over us.
- And he will take away from you all weaknesses.


From a sermon by Saint Augustine, bishop
(Sermo 185: PL 38, 997-999)

Truth has arisen from the earth, and justice looked down from heaven

Awake, mankind! For your sake God has become man. Awake, you who sleep, rise up from the dead, and Christ will enlighten you. I tell you again: for your sake, God became man.

You would have suffered eternal death, had he not been born in time. Never would you have been freed from sinful flesh, had he not taken on himself the likeness of sinful flesh. You would have suffered everlasting unhappiness, had it not been for this mercy. You would never have returned to life, had he not shared your death. You would have been lost if he had not hastened to your aid. You would have perished, had he not come.

Let us then joyfully celebrate the coming of our salvation and redemption. Let us celebrate the festive day on which he who is the great and eternal day came from the great and endless day of eternity into our own short day of time.

He has become our justice, our sanctification, our redemption, so that, as it is written: Let him who glories glory in the Lord.

Truth, then, has arisen from the earth: Christ who said, I am the Truth, was born of a virgin. And justice looked down from heaven: because believing in this new-born child, man is justified not by himself but by God.

Truth has arisen from the earth: because the Word was made flesh. And justice looked down from heaven: because every good gift and every perfect gift and every perfect gift is from above.

Truth has arisen from the earth: flesh from Mary. And justice looked down from heaven: for man can receive nothing unless it has been given him from heaven.

Justified by faith, let us be at peace with God: for justice and peace have embraced one another. through our Lord Jesus Christ: for Truth has arisen from the earth. Through whom we have access to that grace in which we stand, and our boast is in our hope of God's glory. He does not say: "of our glory," but of God's glory: for justice has not proceeded from us but has looked down from heaven. Therefore he who glories, let him glory, not in himself, but in the Lord.

For this reason, when our Lord was born of the Virgin, the message of the angelic voices was: Glory to God in the highest, and peace to his people on earth.

For how could there be peace on earth unless Truth has arisen from the earth, that is, unless Christ, were born of our flesh? And he is our peace who made the two into one: that we might be men of good will, sweetly linked by the bond of unity.

Let us then rejoice in this grace, so that our glorying may bear witness to our good conscience by which we glory, not in ourselves, but in the Lord. That is why Scripture says: He is my glory, the one who lifts up my head. For what greater grace could God have made to dawn on us than to make his only Son become the son of man, so that a son of man might in his turn become the son of God?

Ask if this were merited; ask for its reason, for its justification, and see whether you will find any other answer but sheer grace.

RESPONSORY           Isaiah 11:1,5,2
A shoot shall grow from the root of Jesse,
and there a flower shall blossom.
- Justice will be the girdle around his loins,
and faithfulness the belt around his waist.

The Spirit of the Lord will rest upon him:
a spirit of wisdom and understanding, a spirit of counsel and fortitude.
- Justice will be the girdle around his loins,
and faithfulness the belt around his waist.

If December 24 occurs on Sunday, the Te Deum is said.

Come quickly, we pray, Lord Jesus,
and do not delay,
that those who trust in your compassion
may find solace and relief in your coming.
Who live and reign with God the Father
in the unity of the Holy Spirit,
God, for ever and ever.

Let us praise the Lord.
- And give him thanks.

The English translation of Psalm Responses, Alleluia Verses, Gospel Verses from Lectionary for Mass 1969, 1981, 1997, International Commission on English in the Liturgy Corporation (ICEL); the English translation of Antiphons, Invitatories, Responsories, Intercessions, Psalm 95, the Canticle of the Lamb, Psalm Prayers, Non-Biblical Readings from The Liturgy of the Hours 1973, 1974, 1975, ICEL; excerpts from the English translation of The Roman Missal 2010, ICEL. All rights reserved. Used with permission.


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