Monday 19 th december 2022
O radix Iesse!
He was a martyr of Egypt. He was burned alive in Alexandria, Egypt, during the persecutions under Emperor Trajanus Decius. Nemesius was arrested and scourged and then burned to death. Like Christ, he was executed between two criminals.
Entrance Antiphon : Cf. Heb 10: 37
He who is to come will come and will not delay, and now there will be no fear within our land, for he is our Saviour.
O God, who through the child-bearing of the holy Virgin graciously revealed the radiance of your glory to the world, grant, we pray, that we may venerate with integrity of faith the mystery of so wondrous an Incarnation and always celebrate it with due reverence. Through our Lord Jesus Christ, your Son, who lives and reigns with you in the unity of the Holy Spirit, one God, for ever and ever.
First reading : Judges 13:2-7,24-25
There was a man of Zorah of the tribe of Dan, called Manoah. His wife was barren, she had borne no children. The angel of the Lord appeared to this woman and said to her, ‘You are barren and have had no child. But from now on take great care. Take no wine or strong drink, and eat nothing unclean. For you will conceive and bear a son. No razor is to touch his head, for the boy shall be God’s nazirite from his mother’s womb. It is he who will begin to rescue Israel from the power of the Philistines.’ Then the woman went and told her husband, ‘A man of God has just come to me; his presence was like the presence of the angel of God, he was so majestic. I did not ask him where he came from, and he did not reveal his name to me. But he said to me, “You will conceive and bear a son. From now on, take no wine or strong drink, and eat nothing unclean. For the boy shall be God’s nazirite from his mother’s womb to his dying day.”’ The woman gave birth to a son and called him Samson. The child grew, and the Lord blessed him; and the spirit of the Lord began to move him.
R/ My lips are filled with your praise, with your glory all the day long.
- Be a rock where I can take refuge, a mighty stronghold to save me; for you are my rock, my stronghold. Free me from the hand of the wicked.
- It is you, O Lord, who are my hope, my trust, O Lord, since my youth. On you I have leaned from my birth, from my mother’s womb you have been my help.
- I will declare the Lord’s mighty deeds proclaiming your justice, yours alone. O God, you have taught me from my youth and I proclaim your wonders still.
Alleluia, alleluia! Root of Jesse, set up as a sign to the peoples, come to save us, and delay no more. Alleluia!
Gospel : Luke 1:5-25
In the days of King Herod of Judaea there lived a priest called Zechariah who belonged to the Abijah section of the priesthood, and he had a wife, Elizabeth by name, who was a descendant of Aaron. Both were worthy in the sight of God, and scrupulously observed all the commandments and observances of the Lord. But they were childless: Elizabeth was barren and they were both getting on in years. Now it was the turn of Zechariah’s section to serve, and he was exercising his priestly office before God when it fell to him by lot, as the ritual custom was, to enter the Lord’s sanctuary and burn incense there. And at the hour of incense the whole congregation was outside, praying. Then there appeared to him the angel of the Lord, standing on the right of the altar of incense. The sight disturbed Zechariah and he was overcome with fear. But the angel said to him, ‘Zechariah, do not be afraid, your prayer has been heard. Your wife Elizabeth is to bear you a son and you must name him John. He will be your joy and delight and many will rejoice at his birth, for he will be great in the sight of the Lord; he must drink no wine, no strong drink. Even from his mother’s womb he will be filled with the Holy Spirit, and he will bring back many of the sons of Israel to the Lord their God. With the spirit and power of Elijah, he will go before him to turn the hearts of fathers towards their children and the disobedient back to the wisdom that the virtuous have, preparing for the Lord a people fit for him.’ Zechariah said to the angel, ‘How can I be sure of this? I am an old man and my wife is getting on in years.’ The angel replied, ‘I am Gabriel who stand in God’s presence, and I have been sent to speak to you and bring you this good news. Listen! Since you have not believed my words, which will come true at their appointed time, you will be silenced and have no power of speech until this has happened.’ Meanwhile the people were waiting for Zechariah and were surprised that he stayed in the sanctuary so long. When he came out he could not speak to them, and they realised that he had received a vision in the sanctuary. But he could only make signs to them, and remained dumb. When his time of service came to an end he returned home. Some time later his wife Elizabeth conceived, and for five months she kept to herself. ‘The Lord has done this for me’ she said ‘now that it has pleased him to take away the humiliation I suffered among men.’
Prayer over the Offerings
Look with favour, we pray, O Lord, on the offerings we lay upon your altars, that what we bring despite our weakness may be sanctified by your power. Through Christ our Lord.
Communion Antiphon : Lk 1: 78-79
The Dawn from on high will visit us, guiding our feet in the way of peace.
Prayer after Communion
As we give thanks, almighty God, for these gifts you have bestowed, graciously arouse in us, we pray, the desire for those yet to come, that we may welcome the Nativity of our Saviour and honour it with minds made pure. Through Christ our Lord.
Consecration is an important theme in today’s readings. To consecrate is to set apart for a special reason or task. Samson and John were consecrated to God and this consecration obliged them and their mothers to live in a particular way. When we were baptised, we were consecrated to God; we were set apart for his service. This is a fact we often forget; we do not belong to ourselves, for God bought us for a price which was the blood of his Son Jesus. We belong to God, and so we must live in a particular way, abstaining from sin and doing his will. As St. Paul advises, we must use our bodies and faculties for the glory of God.