Solemnity of the Nativity of the Lord (Christmas) Lectionary: 14
Reading 1 IS 9:1-6
The people who walked in darkness have seen a great light; upon those who dwelt in the land of gloom a light has shone. You have brought them abundant joy and great rejoicing, as they rejoice before you as at the harvest, as people make merry when dividing spoils. For the yoke that burdened them, the pole on their shoulder, and the rod of their taskmaster you have smashed, as on the day of Midian. For every boot that tramped in battle, every cloak rolled in blood, will be burned as fuel for flames. For a child is born to us, a son is given us; upon his shoulder dominion rests. They name him Wonder-Counselor, God-Hero, Father-Forever, Prince of Peace. His dominion is vast and forever peaceful, from David’s throne, and over his kingdom, which he confirms and sustains by judgment and justice, both now and forever. The zeal of the LORD of hosts will do this!
Responsorial Psalm PS 96: 1-2, 2-3, 11-12, 13
R. (Lk 2:11) Today is born our Savior, Christ the Lord. Sing to the LORD a new song; sing to the LORD, all you lands. Sing to the LORD; bless his name. R. Today is born our Savior, Christ the Lord. Announce his salvation, day after day. Tell his glory among the nations; among all peoples, his wondrous deeds. R. Today is born our Savior, Christ the Lord. Let the heavens be glad and the earth rejoice; let the sea and what fills it resound; let the plains be joyful and all that is in them! Then shall all the trees of the forest exult. R. Today is born our Savior, Christ the Lord. They shall exult before the LORD, for he comes; for he comes to rule the earth. He shall rule the world with justice and the peoples with his constancy. R. Today is born our Savior, Christ the Lord.
Reading 2 TI 2:11-14
Beloved: The grace of God has appeared, saving all and training us to reject godless ways and worldly desires and to live temperately, justly, and devoutly in this age, as we await the blessed hope, the appearance of the glory of our great God and savior Jesus Christ, who gave himself for us to deliver us from all lawlessness and to cleanse for himself a people as his own, eager to do what is good.
Gospel LK 2:1-14
In those days a decree went out from Caesar Augustus that the whole world should be enrolled. This was the first enrollment, when Quirinius was governor of Syria. So all went to be enrolled, each to his own town. And Joseph too went up from Galilee from the town of Nazareth to Judea, to the city of David that is called Bethlehem, because he was of the house and family of David, to be enrolled with Mary, his betrothed, who was with child. While they were there, the time came for her to have her child, and she gave birth to her firstborn son. She wrapped him in swaddling clothes and laid him in a manger, because there was no room for them in the inn.
Now there were shepherds in that region living in the fields and keeping the night watch over their flock. The angel of the Lord appeared to them and the glory of the Lord shone around them, and they were struck with great fear. The angel said to them, “Do not be afraid; for behold, I proclaim to you good news of great joy that will be for all the people. For today in the city of David a savior has been born for you who is Christ and Lord. And this will be a sign for you: you will find an infant wrapped in swaddling clothes and lying in a manger.” And suddenly there was a multitude of the heavenly host with the angel, praising God and saying: “Glory to God in the highest and on earth peace to those on whom his favor rests.”
Several news reliable sources have confirmed that 37 are dead after 2 bomb attacks on Christmas day in Iraq. The blasts occurred on Wed. Dec. 25, 2013 in a Christian neighborhood and the second outside a Christian Church. It was a car bomb that killed at least 26 people and wounded 38 people outside a church where people were at a Christmas service. The other attack killed 11 people and wounded 21 others. The United Nations has indicated that more than 8,000 people have been killed in Iraq this year. (Image source Google)Several news reliable sources have confirmed that 37 are dead after 2 bomb attacks on Christmas day in Iraq. The blasts occurred on Wed. Dec. 25, 2013 in a Christian neighborhood and the second outside a Christian Church. It was a car bomb that killed at least 26 people and wounded 38 people outside a church where worshippers were at a Christmas service. The other attack killed 11 people and wounded 21 others. The United Nations has indicated that more than 8,000 people have been killed in Iraq this year. (Image source Google)
A Christmas Carol is a song or hymn dedicated to Christmas. They originated in Rome around the 4th Century AD. Here is a little history of the top 5 Christmas Carols in history. Silent Night, originally "Stille Nacht, heilige Nacht" in German, was written by the Catholic Priest Joseph Mohr and the melody composed by Franz Xaver Gruber. The tune was written in Austria in 1818. O Come, All Ye Faithful
According to most sources the Adeste Fidelis (O Come, All Ye Faithful in Latin) was composed there by John Reading about the year 1680. It is believed that the lyrics were written by Cistercian monks much earlier.
What Child is This was written in 1865 by William Chatterton Dix. It was set to the traditional English Tune of Greensleeves which originated around 1580. Away in a Manger was published in Philadelphia in 1885. It is uncertain who wrote the lyrics. However, the tune was called St. Kilda and attributed to J. E. Clark. Joy To The World was written by Isaac Watts and based on Psalm 98. It was published in 1719 and was arranged to music in 1839 by Lowell Mason.
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.Amen.
Our Father, Who art in heaven Hallowed be Thy Name; Thy kingdom come, Thy will be done, on earth as it is in heaven. Give us this day our daily bread, and forgive us our trespasses, as we forgive those who trespass against us; and lead us not into temptation, but deliver us from evil. Amen.
Day 9 Prayers
The Journey in Egypt
O most sweet infant Jesus, who dwelled as an exile
in Egypt for seven years, where spoke your first words,
NOVENA PREPARATORY TO CHRISTMAS In order to the devout preparation of ourselves for the glorious Birthday of our most loving Saviour, Jesus Christ, which the holy Church recalls to our memory every year on the 25th of December, and at the same time to render Him thanks for this great benefit, Pope Pius VII., by a Rescript of the Segretaria of the Memorials, dated August 12th, 1815 (which said Rescript is preserved in the Segretaria of the Vicariate), granted to all faithful Christians who, being contrite in heart, should prepare themselves for that great solemnity by a novena, consisting of pious exercises, prayers, acts of virtue, &c. - i. An indulgence of 300 days each day of the said novena, and - ii. A plenary indulgence to be gained on Christmas day, or on some day in its octave, by those who, after Confession and Communion, shall have made the said novena every day, and who shall pray according to the intentions of the Sovereigns Pontiff: and note that the Confession and Communion may be made on any one of the days of the said novena, provided the novena is correctly kept. This was declared by Pope Pius VIII., of holy memory, by means of the S. Congr. of Indulgences, July 9, 1830. These indulgences were extended by the above-named Pius VII. to one other time in the year, besides the the specified, when any one should make the aforesaid novena in honour of the Child Jesus.
THE world had subsisted about four thousand years when Jesus Christ, the eternal Son of God, having taken human flesh in the womb of the Virgin Mary, and being made man, was born of her, for the redemption of mankind, at Bethlehem of Judea. Joseph and Mary had come up to Bethlehem to be enrolled, and, unable to find shelter elsewhere, they took refuge in a stable, and in this lowly place Jesus Christ was born. The Blessed Virgin wrapped the divine Infant in swaddling-clothes, and laid Him in the manger. While the sensual and the proud were asleep, an angel appeared to some poor shepherds. They were seized with great fear, but the heavenly messenger said to them: "Fear not: for behold I bring you good tidings of exceeding great joy, that shall be to all the people. For this day is born to you a Saviour, Who is Christ the Lord, in the city of David. And this shall be a sign to you: you shall find the Child wrapped in swaddling-clothes, and laid in a manger." After the departure of the angel the wondering shepherds said to one another: "Let us go over to Bethlehem, and let us see the word that is come to pass, which the Lord hath shown to us." They immediately hastened thither, and found Mary and Joseph, and the Infant lying in the manger. Bowing down they adored Him, and then returned to their flocks, glorifying and praising God.
(Vatican Radio) “I take up the song of the angels who appeared to the shepherds in Bethlehem on the night when Jesus was born. It is a song which unites heaven and earth, giving praise and glory to heaven, and the promise of peace to earth and all its people.”
In his traditional Urbi et Orbi Christmas message, Pope Francis dwelt on the announcement of the angels to the shepherds of Bethlehem: Glory to God in the highest heaven, and on earth peace among those whom he favours (Lk 2:14).
“Above all else,” the Pope said, Christmas calls us “to give glory to God, for He is good, He is faithful, He is merciful.” He prayed that all people would come to know “the true face of the God the Father, who has given us Jesus.” And he encouraged everyone to glorify God by spending their lives “for love of Him and of all our brothers and sisters.”
The majority of the Holy Father’s message was taken up with the theme of “Peace to mankind.” Pope Francis reminded us that “true peace . . . is not a balance of opposing forces,” a façade hiding conflicts and divisions. Rather “peace calls for daily commitment . . . starting from God’s gift, from the grace which He has given us in Jesus Christ.”
He called to mind children who are victims of wars, the elderly, battered women, the sick. He made particular mention of those affected by the ongoing conflict in Syria, and called on the Lord to help all sides of the conflict “to put an end to all violence and guarantee access to humanitarian aid.” Recalling the power of prayer, he expressed his happiness that followers of different religions were all praying together for peace in Syria; he also invited non-believers “to desire peace with that yearning that makes the heart grow: all united, either by prayer or by desire. But all of us, for peace!”
In his remarks he also spoke about the Central African Republic, asking the Lord to bring peace to that country. He looked to South Sudan, praying that the Lord would “foster social harmony” in that land.
Pope Francis invoked the “Prince of Peace” to lead people to give up their arms and “undertake the path of dialogue,” mentioning especially Nigeria and the Holy Land. And he prayed the God would “heal the wounds of the beloved country of Iraq, once more struck by frequent acts of violence.”
The Holy Father also asked God to “protect all who are persecuted for your name” and prayed for peace and consolation for the displaced and for refugees, especially in the Horn of Africa and the Democratic Republic of Congo. And he expressed the hope that “tragedies like those we have witnessed this year, with so many deaths at Lampedusa, never occur again.”
He prayed the “Child of Bethlehem” to “touch the hearts of all those engaged in human trafficking,” which he called a crime against humanity. Pope Francis also recalled the many children who are victims of armed conflicts, especially those forced to become child soldiers.
Finally, Pope Francis called on God to protect the earth, “frequently exploited by human greed and rapacity.” And he asked God to help and protect victims of natural disasters, especially those in the Philippines, the victims of the recent typhoon..
Pope Francis concluded his message with an appeal to allow our hearts to be touched by God: “Dear brothers and sisters, today, in this world, in this humanity, is born the Saviour, who is Christ the Lord. Let us pause before the Child of Bethlehem. Let us allow our hearts to be touched, let us not fear this. Let us not fear that our hearts be moved. We need this! Let us allow ourselves to be warmed by the tenderness of God; we need his caress. God’s caresses do not harm us. They give us peace and strength. We need his caresses. God is full of love: to him be praise and glory forever! God is peace: let us ask him to help us to be peacemakers each day, in our life, in our families, in our cities and nations, in the whole world. Let us allow ourselves to be moved by God’s goodness.”
After concluding his Christmas Message, the Holy Father imparted the Urbi et Orbi Blessing to the faithful gathered in Saint Peter's Square, and to all those listening to his words via all the modern means of communications. Having delivered his Blessing, Pope Francis wished everyone throughout the world a Merry Christmas:
"To you, dear brothers and sisters, gathered from throughout the world in this Square, and to all those from different countries who join us through the communications media, I offer my cordial best wishes for a merry Christmas!
"On this day illumined by the Gospel hope which springs from the humble stable of Bethlehem, I invoke the Christmas gift of joy and peace upon all: upon children and the elderly, upon young people and families, the poor and the marginalized. May Jesus, who was born for us, console all those afflicted by illness and suffering; may he sustain those who devote themselves to serving our brothers and sisters who are most in need. Happy Christmas!"
Below, please find the complete text of Pope Francis' Urbi et Orbi Message for Christmas 2013:
Urbi et Orbi Message of His Holiness Pope Francis (Christmas 2013)
Glory to God in the highest heaven, and on earth peace among those whom he favours (Lk 2:14)
Dear brothers and sisters in Rome and throughout the whole world, Greetings and Happy Christmas!
I take up the song of the angels who appeared to the shepherds in Bethlehem on the night when Jesus was born. It is a song which unites heaven and earth, giving praise and glory to heaven, and the promise of peace to earth and all its people.
I ask everyone to share in this song: it is a song for every man or woman who keeps watch through the night, who hopes for a better world, who cares for others while humbly seeking to do his or her duty.
Glory to God! Above all else, this is what Christmas bids us to do: give glory to God, for he is good, he is faithful, he is merciful. Today I voice my hope that everyone will come to know the true face of God, the Father who has given us Jesus. My hope is that everyone will feel God’s closeness, live in his presence, love him and adore him.
May each of us give glory to God above all by our lives, by lives spent for love of him and of all our brothers and sisters.
Peace to mankind True peace - we know this well - is not a balance of opposing forces. It is not a lovely “façade” which conceals conflicts and divisions. Peace calls for daily commitment, but making peace is an art, starting from God’s gift, from the grace which he has given us in Jesus Christ.
Looking at the Child in the manger, Child of peace, our thoughts turn to those children who are the most vulnerable victims of wars, but we think too of the elderly, to battered women, to the sick… Wars shatter and hurt so many lives!
Too many lives have been shattered in recent times by the conflict in Syria, fueling hatred and vengeance. Let us continue to ask the Lord to spare the beloved Syrian people further suffering, and to enable the parties in conflict to put an end to all violence and guarantee access to humanitarian aid. We have seen how powerful prayer is! And I am happy today too, that the followers of different religious confessions are joining us in our prayer for peace in Syria. Let us never lose the courage of prayer! The courage to say: Lord, grant your peace to Syria and to the whole world. And I also invite non-believers to desire peace with that yearning that makes the heart grow: all united, either by prayer or by desire. But all of us, for peace.
Grant peace, dear Child, to the Central African Republic, often forgotten and overlooked. Yet you, Lord, forget no one! And you also want to bring peace to that land, torn apart by a spiral of violence and poverty, where so many people are homeless, lacking water, food and the bare necessities of life. Foster social harmony in South Sudan, where current tensions have already caused too many victims and are threatening peaceful coexistence in that young state.
Prince of Peace, in every place turn hearts aside from violence and inspire them to lay down arms and undertake the path of dialogue. Look upon Nigeria, rent by constant attacks which do not spare the innocent and defenseless. Bless the land where you chose to come into the world, and grant a favourable outcome to the peace talks between Israelis and Palestinians. Heal the wounds of the beloved country of Iraq, once more struck by frequent acts of violence.
Lord of life, protect all who are persecuted for your name. Grant hope and consolation to the displaced and refugees, especially in the Horn of Africa and in the eastern part of the Democratic Republic of the Congo. Grant that migrants in search of a dignified life may find acceptance and assistance. May tragedies like those we have witnessed this year, with so many deaths at Lampedusa, never occur again!
Child of Bethlehem, touch the hearts of all those engaged in human trafficking, that they may realize the gravity of this crime against humanity. Look upon the many children who are kidnapped, wounded and killed in armed conflicts, and all those who are robbed of their childhood and forced to become soldiers.
Lord of heaven and earth, look upon our planet, frequently exploited by human greed and rapacity. Help and protect all the victims of natural disasters, especially the beloved people of the Philippines, gravely affected by the recent typhoon.
Dear brothers and sisters, today, in this world, in this humanity, is born the Saviour, who is Christ the Lord. Let us pause before the Child of Bethlehem. Let us allow our hearts to be touched, let us not fear this. Let us not fear that our hearts be moved. We need this! Let us allow ourselves to be warmed by the tenderness of God; we need his caress. God’s caresses do not harm us. They give us peace and strength. We need his caresses. God is full of love: to him be praise and glory forever! God is peace: let us ask him to help us to be peacemakers each day, in our life, in our families, in our cities and nations, in the whole world. Let us allow ourselves to be moved by God’s goodness.