DECEMBER 31

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 1: Let the heavens rejoice and the earth be glad in the presence of the Lord, for he has come.

Psalm 96
Cantate Domino


O sing a new song to the Lord,
sing to the Lord all the earth.
O sing to the Lord, bless his name.

Proclaim his help day by day,
tell among the nations his glory
and his wonders among all the peoples.

The Lord is great and worthy of praise,
to be feared above all gods;
the gods of the heathens are naught.

It was the Lord who made the heavens,
his are majesty and state and power
and splendor in his holy place.

Give the Lord, you families of peoples,
give the Lord glory and power;
give the Lord the glory of his name.

Bring an offering and enter his courts,
worship the Lord in his temple.
O earth, tremble before him.

Proclaim to the nations God is king.
The world he made firm in its place;
he will judge the people in fairness.

Let the heavens rejoice and earth be glad,
let the sea and all within it thunder praise,
let the land and all it bears rejoice,
all the trees of the wood shout for joy

at the presence of the Lord for he comes,
he comes to rule the earth.
With justice he will rule the world,
he will judge the peoples with his truth. Glory...

Antiphon 1: Let the heavens rejoice and the earth be glad in the presence of the Lord, for he has come.


Antiphon 2: A light has dawned for the just; joy has come to the upright of heart.

Psalm 97
Dominus regnavit


The Lord is king, let earth rejoice,
let all the coastlands be glad.
Cloud and darkness are his raiment;
his throne, justice and right.

A fire prepares his path;
it burns up his foes on every side.
His lightnings light up the world,
the earth trembles at the sight.

The mountains melt like wax
before the Lord of all the earth.
The skies proclaim his justice;
all peoples see his glory.

Let those who serve idols be ashamed,
those who boast of their worthless gods.
All you spirits, worship him.

Zion hears and is glad;
the people of Judah rejoice
because of your judgments, O Lord.

For you indeed are the Lord
most high above all the earth,
exalted far above all spirits.

The Lord loves those who hate evil;
he guards the souls of his saints;
he sets them free from the wicked.

Light shines forth for the just
and joy for the upright of heart.
Rejoice, you just, in the Lord;
give glory to his holy name. Glory...

Antiphon 2: A light has dawned for the just; joy has come to the upright of heart.


Antiphon 3: The Lord has made known his saving power, alleluia.

Psalm 98
Cantate Domino


Sing a new song to the Lord
for he has worked wonders.
His right and hand his holy arm
have brought salvation.

The Lord has made know his salvation;
has shown his justice to the nations.
He has remembered his truth and love
for the house of Israel.

All the ends of the earth have seen
the salvation of our God.
Shout to the Lord, all the earth,
ring out your joy.

Sing psalms to the Lord with the harp
with the sound of music.
With trumpets and the sound of the horn
acclaim the King, the Lord.

Let the sea and all within it, thunder;
the world, and all its peoples.
Let the rivers clap their hands
and the hills ring out their joy

at the presence of the Lord for he comes,
he comes to rule the earth.
He will rule the world with justice
and the peoples with fairness. Glory...

Antiphon 3: The Lord has made known his saving power, alleluia.


In these last days God has spoken to us through his Son.
     - The Word through whom he made all things.


FIRST READING

From the letter of Paul to the Colossians           2:4-15

I say this so that no one may deceive you by specious arguments.  For even if I am absent in the flesh, yet I am with you in spirit, rejoicing as I observe your good order and the firmness of your faith in Christ.  

So, as you received Christ Jesus the Lord, walk in him,  rooted in him and built upon him and established in the faith as you were taught, abounding in thanksgiving.  

See to it that no one captivate you with an empty, seductive philosophy according to human tradition, according to the elemental powers of the world and not according to Christ.  

For in him dwells the whole fullness of the deity bodily,  and you share in this fullness in him, who is the head of every principality and power.  

In him you were also circumcised with a circumcision not administered by hand, by stripping off the carnal body, with the circumcision of Christ.  You were buried with him in baptism, in which you were also raised with him through faith in the power of God, who raised him from the dead.  

And even when you were dead in transgressions and the uncircumcision of your flesh, he brought you to life along with him, having forgiven us all our transgressions;  obliterating the bond against us, with its legal claims, which was opposed to us, he also removed it from our midst, nailing it to the cross;  despoiling the principalities and the powers, he made a public spectacle of them, leading them away in triumph by it.


RESPONSORY          
The fullness of divinity lives in Christ's humanity;
 - he is the head over every power and authority.

In baptism we were buried with Christ,
and in baptism we have risen to a new life with him
through our faith in the power of God.
 - he is the head over every power and authority.


SECOND READING

From a sermon by Saint Leo the Great, pope
(Sermo 6 in Nativitate Domini, 2-3, 5: PL 54, 213-216)

The birthday of the Lord is the birthday of peace

Godís Son did not disdain to become a baby. Although with the passing of the years he moved from infancy to maturity, and although with the triumph of his passion and resurrection all the actions of humility which he undertook for us were finished, still todayís festival renews for us the holy childhood of Jesus born of the Virgin Mary. In adoring the birth of our Saviour, we find we are celebrating the commencement of our own life, for the birth of Christ is the source of life for Christian folk, and the birthday of the Head is the birthday of the body.

Every individual that is called has his own place, and all the sons of the Church are separated from one another by intervals of time. Nevertheless, just as the entire body of the faithful is born in the font of baptism, crucified with Christ in his passion, raised again in his resurrection, and placed at the Fatherís right hand in his ascension, so with Him are they born in this nativity.

For this is true of any believer in whatever part of the world, that once he is reborn in Christ he abandons the old paths of his original nature and passes into a new man by being reborn. He is no longer counted as part of his earthly fatherís stock but among the seed of the Saviour, who became the Son of man in order that we might have the power to be the sons of God.

For unless He came down to us in this humiliation, no one could reach his presence by any merits of his own.

The very greatness of the gift conferred demands of us reverence worthy of its splendour. For, as the blessed Apostle teaches, We have received not the spirit of this world but the Spirit which is of God, that we may know the things which are given us by God. That Spirit can in no other way be rightly worshipped, except by offering him that which we received from him.

But in the treasures of the Lordís bounty what can we find so suitable to the honour of the present feast as the peace which at the Lordís nativity was first proclaimed by the angel-choir?

For it is that peace which brings forth the sons of God. That peace is the nurse of love and the mother of unity, the rest of the blessed and our eternal home. That peace has the special task of joining to God those whom it removes from the world.

So those who are born not of blood nor of the will of the flesh nor of the will of man but of God must offer to the Father the unanimity of peace-loving sons, and all of them, adopted parts of the mystical Body of Christ, must meet in the First-begotten of the new creation. He came to do not his own will but the will of the one who sent him; and so too the Father in his gracious favour has adopted as his heirs not those that are discordant nor those that are unlike him, but those that are one with him in feeling and in affection. Those who are re-modelled after one pattern must have a spirit like the model.

The birthday of the Lord is the birthday of peace: for thus says the Apostle, He is our peace, who made both one; because whether we are Jew or Gentile, through Him we have access in one Spirit to the Father.


RESPONSORY          
You were once far away from God,
but now you have been brought very near through the blood of Christ.
   - He himself is our peace who has made us all one.
Christ came to proclaim the good news to us:
peace to you who were far away,
and peace to those who were near.
   - He himself is our peace who has made us all one.


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
O God, who gladden us year by year
as we wait in hope for our redemption,
grant that, just as we joyfully welcome
your Only Begotten Son as our Redeemer,
we may also merit to face him confidently
when he comes again as our Judge.
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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