DECEMBER 29

Office of Readings



Invitatory
The Invitatory opens the first Office of the day. If the Office of Readings is the first Office of the day, begin below.

Lord, open my lips.
 - And my mouth shall proclaim your praise.

Psalm 95 is the traditional Invitatory Psalm. Psalm 24, 67, or 100 may be substituted.

Antiphon: Christ is born for us; come let us adore him.





Office of Readings

God, come to my assistance.
 - Lord, make haste to help me.
Glory to the Father, and to the Son, and to the Holy Spirit:
 -  as it was in the beginning, is now, and will be for ever.
Amen. Alleluia.


HYMN
From Heaven high I come to you
Go tell it on the mountain
Oh, Come All Ye Faithful
Songs of praise the angels sang
Virgin-born, we bow before you
What Child is this
A Child is born in Bethlehem


PSALMODY

Antiphon: The Lord of power and might is with us; the God of Jacob is our stronghold.

Psalm 46    
Deus noster refugium


God is for us a refuge and strength,
a helper close at hand, in time of distress,
so we shall not fear though the earth should rock,
though the mountains fall into the depths of the sea;
even though its waters rage and foam,
even though the mountains be shaken by its waves.

The Lord of hosts is with us:
the God of Jacob is our stronghold.

The waters of a river give joy to God's city,
the holy place where the Most High dwells.
God is within, it cannot be shaken;
God will help it at the dawning of the day.
Nations are in tumult, kingdoms are shaken:
he lifts his voice, the earth shrinks away.

The Lord of hosts is with us:
the God of Jacob is our stronghold.

Come, consider the works of the Lord,
the redoubtable deeds he has done on the earth.
He puts an end to wars over all the earth;
the bow he breaks, the spear he snaps.
He burns the shields with fire.
Be still and know that I am God,
supreme among the nations, supreme on the earth!"

The Lord of hosts is with us:
the God of Jacob is our stronghold. Glory...

Antiphon: The Lord of power and might is with us; the God of Jacob is our stronghold..


Antiphon: Fullness of peace will dawn on the day of the Lord, and he will be our King.

Psalm 72    
Deus, judicium


I

O God, give your judgment to the king,
to a king's son your justice,
that he may judge your people in justice
and your poor in right judgment.

May the mountains bring forth peace for the people
and the hills, justice.
May he defend the poor of the people
and save the children of the needy
and crush the oppressor.

He shall endure like the sun and the moon
from age to age.
He shall descend like rain on the meadow,
like raindrops on the earth.

In his days justice shall flourish
and peace till the moon fails.
He shall rule from sea to sea,
from the Great River to earth's bounds.

Before him his enemies shall fall,
his foes lick the dust.
The kings of Tarshish and the seacoasts
shall pay him tribute.

The kings of Sheba and Seba
shall bring him gifts.
Before him all kings shall fall prostrate,
all nations shall serve him. Glory...

Antiphon: Fullness of peace will dawn on the day of the Lord, and he will be our King.


Antiphon: The Lord himself will come to save the poor.

II

For he shall save the poor when they cry
and the needy who are helpless.
He will have pity on the weak
and save the lives of the poor.

From oppression he will rescue their lives,
to him their blood is dear.
Long may he live,
may the gold of Sheba be given him.
They shall pray for him without ceasing
and bless him all the day.

May corn be abundant in the land
to the peaks of the mountains.
May its fruit rustle like Lebanon;
may people flourish in the cities
like grass on the earth.

May his name be blessed for ever
and endure like the sun.
Every tribe shall be blessed in him,
all nations bless his name.

Blessed be the Lord, God of Israel,
who alone works wonders,
ever blessed his glorious name.
Let his glory fill the earth.

Amen! Amen! Glory...

Antiphon: The Lord himself will come to save the poor.


When the shepherds saw the child.
     - They understood what the angels had said of him.


FIRST READING

From the letter of Paul to the Colossians           1:1-14

Paul, an apostle of Christ Jesus by the will of God, and Timothy our brother, to the holy ones and faithful brothers in Christ in Colossae: grace to you and peace from God our Father.  

We always give thanks to God, the Father of our Lord Jesus Christ, when we pray for you,  for we have heard of your faith in Christ Jesus and the love that you have for all the holy ones  because of the hope reserved for you in heaven. Of this you have already heard through the word of truth, the gospel, that has come to you. Just as in the whole world it is bearing fruit and growing, so also among you, from the day you heard it and came to know the grace of God in truth, as you learned it from Epaphras our beloved fellow slave, who is a trustworthy minister of Christ on your behalf and who also told us of your love in the Spirit.

Therefore, from the day we heard this, we do not cease praying for you and asking that you may be filled with the knowledge of his will through all spiritual wisdom and understanding to live in a manner worthy of the Lord, so as to be fully pleasing, in every good work bearing fruit and growing in the knowledge of God, strengthened with every power, in accord with his glorious might, for all endurance and patience, with joy giving thanks to the Father, who has made you fit to share in the inheritance of the holy ones in light. He delivered us from the power of darkness and transferred us to the kingdom of his beloved Son, in whom we have redemption, the forgiveness of sins.


RESPONSORY          
Let us give thanks to God our Father,
 - because he has rescued us from the power of darkness
and brought us into the kingdom of his beloved Son.

Every good and perfect gift comes down to us from above;
from the Father of light.
 - because he has rescued us from the power of darkness
and brought us into the kingdom of his beloved Son.


SECOND READING

From a sermon by St. Bernard, abbot
(Sermo 1, in Epiphania Domini, 1-2: PL 133,141-143)

In the fullness of time, the fullness of divinity appeared.

The kindness and love of God our saviour for mankind were revealed. Thanks be to God, through whom we receive such abundant consolation in this pilgrimage, this exile, this distress.

Before his humanity appeared, his kindness lay concealed. Of course it was already in existence, because the mercy of the Lord is from eternity, but how could men know it was so great? It was promised but not yet experienced: hence many did not believe in it. At various times and in various different ways, God spoke through the prophets, saying I know the plans I have in mind for you: plans for peace, not disaster.

What reply did man make, man who felt the affliction, and knew nothing of peace? ‘How long will you keep saying “Peace, peace” when there is no peace?’ And so the angels of peace weep bitterly saying Lord, who has believed our report?

But now at last let men believe their own eyes, because all God’s promises are to be trusted. So that it cannot escape the notice of even troubled eyes, He has set up his tabernacle in the sun. Behold, peace is no longer promised, but conferred; no longer delayed, but given; no longer predicted, but bestowed. Behold, God has sent down to earth a bag bulging with his mercy, a bag that, at the passion, is torn open so that our ransom pours out of it onto us. A small bag, perhaps, but a full one: for it was a small child that was given to us, but in him dwells all the fullness of the Godhead.

After the fullness of time had come, there came too the fullness of the Godhead. He came in the flesh, so that at least he might make himself manifest to our earthly minds, so that when this humanity of his appeared, his kindness might also be acknowledged. Where the humanity of God appears, his kindness can no longer be hidden. In what way, indeed, could he have better commended his kindness than by assuming my flesh? My flesh, that is, not Adam’s, as it was before the fall.

What greater proof could he have given of his mercy than by taking upon himself that very thing which needed mercy? Where is there such perfect loving-kindness as in the fact that for our sake the Word of God became perishable like the grass? Lord, what is man, that you make much of him or pay him any heed?

Let man infer from this how much God cares for him. Let him know from this what God thinks of him, what he feels about him. Man, do not ask about your own sufferings; but about what God suffered. Learn from what he was made for you, how much he makes of you, so that his kindness may show itself to you from his humanity.

The lesser he has made himself in his humanity, the greater has he shown himself in kindness. The more he humbles himself on my account, the more powerfully he engages my love. The kindness and humanity of God our Saviour appeared says St Paul. The humanity of God shows the greatness of his kindness, and he who added humanity to the name of God gave great proof of this kindness.


RESPONSORY          
From all eternity, God destined us in Jesus Christ to be his children by adoption,
   - for it was his loving purpose to show in us the glory of his grace.

Long ago he knew us and chose to make us in the likeness of his own Son.
   - For it was his loving purpose to show in us the glory of his grace.


CANTICLE          TE DEUM

You are God: we praise you;
You are the Lord; we acclaim you;
You are the eternal Father:
All creation worships you.
To you all angels, all the powers of heaven,
Cherubim and Seraphim, sing in endless praise:
  Holy, holy, holy Lord, God of power and might,
  heaven and earth are full of your glory.
The glorious company of apostles praise you.
The noble fellowship of prophets praise you.
The white-robed army of martyrs praise you.
Throughout the world the holy Church acclaims you;
  Father, of majesty unbounded,
  your true and only Son, worthy of all worship,
  and the Holy Spirit, advocate and guide.

You, Christ, are the king of glory,
the eternal Son of the Father.
When you became man to set us free
you did not shun the Virgin's womb.
You overcame the sting of death
and opened the kingdom of heaven to all believers.
You are seated at God's right hand in glory.
We believe that you will come and be our judge.
Come then, Lord, and help your people,
bought with the price of your own blood,
and bring us with your saints
to glory everlasting.

V.  Save your people, Lord, and bless your inheritance;
R.  govern and uphold them, now and always.
V.  Day by day we bless you;
R.  we praise your name for ever.
V.  Keep us today, Lord, from all sin;
R.  have mercy on us, Lord, have mercy.
V.  Lord, show us your love and mercy;
R.  for we put our trust in you.
V.  In you, Lord, is our hope;
R.  and we shall never hope in vain.

The concluding part of the hymn may be omitted.


COLLECT
Almighty and invisible God,
who dispersed the darkness of this world
by the coming of your light,
look, we pray, with serene countenance upon us,
that we may acclaim with fitting praise
the greatness of the Nativity of your Only Begotten Son.
Who lives and reigns with you in the unity of the Holy Spirit,
one 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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