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Catholic Caucus: Sunday Mass Readings, 12-04-11, Second Sunday of Advent
USCCB.org/ RNAB ^ | 12-04-11 | Revised New American Bible

Posted on 12/03/2011 7:46:25 PM PST by Salvation

December 4, 2011

 

Second Sunday of Advent

 

Reading 1 Is 40:1-5, 9-11

Comfort, give comfort to my people,
says your God.
Speak tenderly to Jerusalem, and proclaim to her
that her service is at an end,
her guilt is expiated;
indeed, she has received from the hand of the LORD
double for all her sins.

A voice cries out:
In the desert prepare the way of the LORD!
Make straight in the wasteland a highway for our God!
Every valley shall be filled in,
every mountain and hill shall be made low;
the rugged land shall be made a plain,
the rough country, a broad valley.
Then the glory of the LORD shall be revealed,
and all people shall see it together;
for the mouth of the LORD has spoken.

Go up on to a high mountain,
Zion, herald of glad tidings;
cry out at the top of your voice,
Jerusalem, herald of good news!
Fear not to cry out
and say to the cities of Judah:
Here is your God!
Here comes with power
the Lord GOD,
who rules by his strong arm;
here is his reward with him,
his recompense before him.
Like a shepherd he feeds his flock;
in his arms he gathers the lambs,
carrying them in his bosom,
and leading the ewes with care.

Responsorial Psalm Ps 85:9-10-11-12, 13-14

R. (8) Lord, let us see your kindness, and grant us your salvation.
I will hear what God proclaims;
the LORD--for he proclaims peace to his people.
Near indeed is his salvation to those who fear him,
glory dwelling in our land.
R. Lord, let us see your kindness, and grant us your salvation.
Kindness and truth shall meet;
justice and peace shall kiss.
Truth shall spring out of the earth,
and justice shall look down from heaven.
R. Lord, let us see your kindness, and grant us your salvation.
The LORD himself will give his benefits;
our land shall yield its increase.
Justice shall walk before him,
and prepare the way of his steps.
R. Lord, let us see your kindness, and grant us your salvation.

Reading 2 2 Pt 3:8-14

Do not ignore this one fact, beloved,
that with the Lord one day is like a thousand years
and a thousand years like one day.
The Lord does not delay his promise, as some regard "delay,"
but he is patient with you,
not wishing that any should perish
but that all should come to repentance.
But the day of the Lord will come like a thief,
and then the heavens will pass away with a mighty roar
and the elements will be dissolved by fire,
and the earth and everything done on it will be found out.

Since everything is to be dissolved in this way,
what sort of persons ought you to be,
conducting yourselves in holiness and devotion,
waiting for and hastening the coming of the day of God,
because of which the heavens will be dissolved in flames
and the elements melted by fire.
But according to his promise
we await new heavens and a new earth
in which righteousness dwells.
Therefore, beloved, since you await these things,
be eager to be found without spot or blemish before him, at peace.

Gospel Mk 1:1-8

The beginning of the gospel of Jesus Christ the Son of God.

As it is written in Isaiah the prophet:
Behold, I am sending my messenger ahead of you;
he will prepare your way.
A voice of one crying out in the desert:
"Prepare the way of the Lord,
make straight his paths."
John the Baptist appeared in the desert
proclaiming a baptism of repentance for the forgiveness of sins.
People of the whole Judean countryside
and all the inhabitants of Jerusalem
were going out to him
and were being baptized by him in the Jordan River
as they acknowledged their sins.
John was clothed in camel's hair,
with a leather belt around his waist.
He fed on locusts and wild honey.
And this is what he proclaimed:
"One mightier than I is coming after me.
I am not worthy to stoop and loosen the thongs of his sandals.
I have baptized you with water;
he will baptize you with the Holy Spirit."


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1 posted on 12/03/2011 7:46:32 PM PST by Salvation
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To: nickcarraway; NYer; ELS; Pyro7480; livius; ArrogantBustard; Catholicguy; RobbyS; marshmallow; ...
Alleluia Ping!
 
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2 posted on 12/03/2011 7:50:10 PM PST by Salvation ("With God all things are possible." Matthew 19:26)
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To: All

From: Isaiah 40:1-5, 9-11

Prologue: Promise of Deliverance


[1] Comfort, comfort my people,
says your God.
[2] Speak tenderly to Jerusalem,
and cry to her
that her warfare is ended,
that her iniquity is pardoned,
that she has received from the Lord’s hand
double for all her sins.
[3] A voice cries:
“In the wilderness prepare the way of the Lord,
make straight in the desert a highway for our God.
[4] Every valley shall be lifted up,
and every mountain and hill be made low;
the uneven ground shall become level,
and the rough places a plain.
[5] And the glory of the Lord shall be revealed,
and all flesh shall see it together,
for the mouth of the Lord has spoken.”

[9] Get you up to a high mountain,
O Zion, herald of good tidings;
lift up your voice with strength,
O Jerusalem, herald of good tidings,
lift it up, fear not;
say to the cities of Judah,
“Behold your God!”
[10] Behold, the Lord God comes with might,
and his arm rules for him;
behold, his reward is with him,
and his recompense before him.
[11] He will feed his flock like a shepherd,
he will gather the lambs in his arms,
he will carry them in his bosom,
and gently lead those that are with young.

*********************************************************************************************
Commentary:

40:1-55:13. These chapters make up the second part of the book of Isaiah, also
known as “Second Isaiah” or “Deutero-Isaiah”. Almost everything here refers to a
period of history one or two centuries later than that of “First Isaiah”. The oppres-
sor is no longer Assyria but Babylon, which conquered Jerusalem in 587-586 BC,
and then began a series of deportations that sent the upper classes of Jerusalem
and Judah into exile. Many years later (539 BC), Cyrus, king of the Persians,
conquered the Babylonians and issued a decree allowing those deportees who
so wished to return home. These events are echoed in Second Isaiah’s oracles,
songs, lamentations and denunciations, and the prophetic visions of the final, en-
during deliverance and restoration of the chosen people and the city of Zion.

The various literary units in this part of the book are grouped into two Is 52:7-11
sections more or less by subject. The first (40:1-48:22) implies that the Jews are
still held against their will in Babylon. Their deliverance is announced, thanks to
the power of the Lord, who rules the world and determines the course of human
affairs; he has chosen Cyrus, king of Persia, called here his “anointed”, his mes-
siah, to redeem Israel from exile (44:24-45:25).

This section, too, contains the announcement that God will choose a “servant”,
whom he will send empowered by the Spirit to establish law and justice (42:1-9,
the first “song of the Servant”).

The second section celebrates the glorious restoration of the people of God on
Zion; in this, too, the “Servant of the Lord” will play the key role; the section con-
tains the last three “songs of the Servant” (49:1-6; 50:4-9; 52:13-53:12).

40:1-48:22. The historical background to these chapters is the time immediately
after the return of the exiles from Babylon, which is depicted as a “new exodus”.
The exodus from Egypt was the prototype of all God’s interventions on his peo-
ple’s behalf: now we hear of another one, “new” because the power with which
God, the Creator of all things, acts now surpasses that to be seen in the exo-
dus. The news that deliverance is at hand greatly consoles the people: we are
told this at the start, and it is repeated in the oracles that follow. For this reason,
this part of the book of Isaiah is usually called the “Book of Consolation”, and it
has been interpreted as an anticipation of the consolation that Christ will bring:
“The true consolation, balm and release from all human ills is the Incarnation of
our God and Saviour” (Theodoret of Cyrus, “Commentaria In Isaiam”, 40, 3).

The section opens with a song of joy over the imminent release of the exiles
(40:1-11). After this a number of oracles are grouped together which describe the
reason why the people should hope in the Lord who is mighty and desires to save,
who is ready to do so (42:1-25), to manifest himself as the Redeemer of Israel (43:
1-44:23) and bring salvation to Jerusalem (44:24-48:19). The section ends with a
prophecy of the redemption of his people and a call to leave Babylon (48:20-22).

40:1-11. The section begins on a formal note with an anonymous voice proclai-
ming the Lord’s consolation (vv 1-5) The same voice calls on the prophet himself
to proclaim that the word of God and his message of salvation will endure forever
(vv. 6-11). The oracles are addressed to those people of Jerusalem who have been
deported to Babylon. When they were first spoken, many decades had passed
since these people and the previous generation were forced to leave the holy city.

Those years of suffering and exile have more than atoned for their sins. The time
comes for them, with the Lord’s help, to set out on the return journey. That jour-
ney is mentioned throughout this section. The voice speaking in the name of the
Lord boosts their morale: it won’t be a difficult journey; they will find a way opened
up for them which will bring them to the glory of the Lord. As in the exodus from
Egypt, on the “way” from Babylon to Jerusalem they will see wonderful evidence
of the power of God.

The words spoken by the mysterious voice, inviting them to set out, fills the retur-
nees with hope. The four Gospels see these words fulfilled in the ministry of John
the Baptist, who is the voice crying in the wilderness “Prepare the way of the
Lord” (cf. v. 3). And, indeed, John, with his call to personal conversion and his
baptism of repentance, does prepare the way for people to find Jesus (cf. Mt 3:3;
Mk 1:3; Lk 3:4; Jn 1:23), whom the Gospels confess to be “the Lord” (cf. v. 3).
John the Baptist is his herald, the “precursor”: “The voice commands that a way
be opened for the Word of God, the path smoothed and all obstacles removed:
when our God comes, he will be able to walk without hindrance. Prepare the way
of the Lord: this means to preach the gospel and to offer consolation to his people,
with the desire that the salvation of God embrace all mankind” (Eusebius of Cae-
sarea, “Commentana In Isaiam”, 40, 366). Hence, in Christian tradition, “John
the Baptist is ‘more than a prophet’ (Lk 7:26). In him, the Holy Spirit concludes
his speaking through the prophets. John completes the cycle of prophets begun
by Elijah (cf. Mt 11: 13-14). He proclaims the imminence of the consolation of Is-
rael; he is the ‘voice’ of the Consoler who is coming (Jn 1:23; cf. Is 40:1-3)” (”Ca-
techism of the Catholic Church”, 719).

In the second part of the oracle, the anonymous voice asks the prophet to speak
in the name of the Lord (vv. 6-8). Merely human plans can only go so far; but the
word of God stands forever. In the things that the voice says there must be an al-
lusion to the might of Babylon, which withers like the flower of the field when the
“breath of the Lord blows upon it”, because it challenged the goodness of God.
The message to be given to the people speaks of trusting in the power of God,
who comes not to lay waste but to protect and recompense those in his care (vv.
9-11). Here we find for the first time the simile of the “flock” being applied to the
people of God, one of a number of figures of speech used in Holy Scripture to de-
scribe God’s tender care of his people (cf. Jer 23:3; Ezek 34:1ff; Ps 23:4) and
which Christian tradition uses to explain the mystery of the Church: “The Church
is a sheepfold whose one and indispensable door is Christ (Jn 10:1-10). It is a
flock of which God himself foretold he would be the shepherd (Is 40:11; Ezek 34:
11-31), and whose sheep, although ruled by human shepherds, are nevertheless
continuously led and nourished by Christ himself, the Good Shepherd and the
Prince of the shepherds (cf. Jn 10:11; 1 Pet 5:4), who gave his life for the sheep
(cf. Jn 10:11-15)” (Vatican II, “Lumen Gentium”, 6).

The words of vv. 6-8 will later be used in the First Letter of St Peter to confirm
the validity of the precept of brotherly love (1 Pet 1:24-25).

*********************************************************************************************
Source: “The Navarre Bible: Text and Commentaries”. Biblical text from the
Revised Standard Version and New Vulgate. Commentaries by members of
the Faculty of Theology, University of Navarre, Spain.

Published by Four Courts Press, Kill Lane, Blackrock, Co. Dublin, Ireland, and
by Scepter Publishers in the United States.


3 posted on 12/03/2011 7:52:21 PM PST by Salvation ("With God all things are possible." Matthew 19:26)
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To: All

From: 2 Peter 3:8-14

True Teaching


[8] But do not ignore this one fact, beloved, that with the Lord one day is as a
thousand years, and a thousand years as one day. [9] The Lord is not slow a-
bout his promise as some count slowness, but is forbearing toward you, not wi-
shing that any should perish, but that all should reach repentance. [10] But the
day of the Lord will come like a thief, and then the heavens will pass away

with a loud noise, and the elements will be dissolved with fire, and the earth and
the works that are upon it will be burned up.

Moral Lessons to be Drawn


[11] Since all these things are thus to be dissolved, what sort of persons ought
you to be in lives of holiness and godliness awaiting for and hastening the co-
ming of the day of God, because of which the heavens will be kindled and dis-
solved, and the elements will melt with fire! [13] But according to his promise
we wait for new heavens and a new earth in which righteousness dwells.

[14] Therefore, beloved, since you wait for these, be zealous to be found by him
without spot or blemish, and at peace.

*********************************************************************************************
Commentary:

8. This passage from v. 4 of Psalm 90 was often cited by Jewish rabbis in their
calculations about how long the messianic times would last and when the end
of the world would be; later on, millenarists would use it as a basis for their far-
fetched theories about Christ and his saints bearing temporal rule for a thousand
years over an earthly kingdom prior to the End. The author of the letter cites the
psalm as an authority for the view that time is a function of Creation and has no
connection with the eternity of God: the fact that the Parousia has not happened
is no reason to deny that it will happen.

9-10. In this passage we are reminded that God, in his great mercy, does not
seek our condemnation but, rather, wants all men to be saved (cf. 1 Tim 2:4;
Rom 11:22) and shows wonderful patience towards them. The fact that the Pa-
rousia has not yet come about is quite compatible with the certainty that it will
happen, and happen all of a sudden; therefore, far from being an excuse for ma-
king Christian life less demanding, the Parousia is a spur to stay vigilant (the
Master himself used the simile of the thief: cf. Mt 24:43 44; Lk 12:39). “Since
we know neither the day nor the hour, we should follow the advice of the Lord
and watch constantly so that, when the single course of our earthly life is com-
pleted (cf. Heb 9:27), we may merit to enter with him into the marriage feast and
be numbered among the blessed (cf. Mt 25:31-46) and not, like the wicked and
slothful servants (cf. Mt 25: 26), be ordered to depart into the eternal fire (cf. Mt
25:41)” (Vatican II, “Lumen Gentium”, 48).

“The earth and the works that are upon it”: there are so many variants in the
Greek manuscripts that it is almost impossible to reconstruct the original text:
but they all convey the idea that the earth will be affected by this universal ca-
taclysm.

11-16. The writer now follows up these considerations with a moral exhortation,
based on the conviction that the old world will disappear (v. 12) producing new
heavens and a new earth (v. 13), and that men living in the period prior to this
cataclysm will not know when it is going to happen (v. 15).

All this should not make Christians afraid; in fact, it should bolster their hope
(vv.12-14). God will keep his promise to grant heaven to those who persevere in
good; but this hope of future reward should not lead one to neglect temporal af-
fairs: “Far from diminishing our concern to develop the earth, the expectancy
of a new earth should spur us on, for it is here that the body of a new human fa-
mily grows, foreshadowing in some way the age which is to come” (Vatican II,
“Gaudium Et Spes”, 39).

Hope opens the way to upright conduct (v. 11) of an even higher standard (v. 14).
Christians should realize that they have a pressing duty to grow in virtue as long
as they live in this world (v. 15): “God may have given us just one more year in
which to serve him. Don’t think of five, or even two. Just concentrate on this one
year, that has just started. Give it to God, don’t bury it! This is the resolution we
ought to make” (St. J. Escriva, “Friends of God”, 47).

The practice of virtue leads to holiness and enduring union with God (v. 14; cf. 1
Thess 3:13). “’While we are at home in the body we are away from the Lord’ (2
Cor 5:6) and, although we have the first fruits of the Spirit, we groan inwardly (cf.
Rom 8:23) in our anxiety to be with Christ (cf. Phil 1:23). The same love urges
us to live more for Him who died for us and who rose again (cf. 2 Cor 5:15). We
make it our aim, then, to please the Lord in all things (cf. 2 Cor 5:9) and we put
on the armor of God that we may be able to stand against the wiles of the devil
and resist the evil day (cf. Eph 6: 13)” (”Lumen Gentium”, 48).

12. “Waiting for and hastening”: these two verbs convey the idea that Christian
hope is something dynamic; it is in no way passive. Contrary to a view quite
widespread among the Jews of the time, it does not mean that the Parousia
will come sooner, the more meritorious men are; what it means is that the more
closely united to Christ they are, the nearer they are to his glory. Therefore, it is
urgent that all should embrace faith in Christ. We who have this faith pray in the
Our Father, “Thy kingdom come.” The first Christians made the same petition in
their ejaculatory prayer, “Marana tha”, “Come, Lord” (1 Cor 16:22; Rev 22:20),
referring to the second coming of the Lord.

“The day of God”: the usual expression in the New Testament is “the day of the
Lord” (1 Cor 1:8; 5:5; 1 Thess 5:2; 2 Thess 2:2; 2 Pet 3: 10); both expressions
refer to the point at which Christ will come to judge the living and the dead.

13. “New heavens and a new earth”: one of things promised for the End is that
creation will be renewed, re-fashioned: the prophets proclaimed this (cf. Is 65:
17), and the New Testament speaks of drinking new wine at the heavenly ban-
quet (cf. Mt 14:25), being given a new name (cf. Rev 2:17), singing a new song
(cf. Rev 5:9), living in a new Jerusalem (Rev 21:3). All this imagery conveys the
idea that the whole universe will be transformed, man included (cf. Rom 8:19-22).
“We know neither the moment of the consummation of the earth and of man (cf.
Acts 1:7) nor the way the universe will be transformed. The form of this world, di-
storted by sin, is passing away (cf. 1 Cor 7:31), and we are taught that God is
preparing a new dwelling and a new earth in which righteousness dwells (cf. 2
Cor 5:2; 2 Pet 3:13), whose happiness will fill and surpass all the desires of
peace arising in the hearts of men” (”Gaudium Et Spes”, 39).

*********************************************************************************************
Source: “The Navarre Bible: Text and Commentaries”. Biblical text from the
Revised Standard Version and New Vulgate. Commentaries by members of
the Faculty of Theology, University of Navarre, Spain.

Published by Four Courts Press, Kill Lane, Blackrock, Co. Dublin, Ireland, and
by Scepter Publishers in the United States.


4 posted on 12/03/2011 7:53:06 PM PST by Salvation ("With God all things are possible." Matthew 19:26)
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To: All

From: Mark 1:1-8

The Ministry of John the Baptist


[1] The beginning of the gospel of Jesus Christ, the Son of God.

[2] As it is written in Isaiah the prophet, “Behold, I send my messenger before
thy face, who shall prepare the way; [3] the voice of one crying in the wilderness:
Prepare the way of the Lord, make his paths straight.”

[4] John the baptizer appeared in the wilderness, preaching a baptism of repen-
tance for the forgiveness of sins. [5] And there went out to him all the country
of Judea, and all the people of Jerusalem; and they were baptized by him in the
river Jordan, confessing their sins. [6] Now John was clothed in camel’s hair, and
had a leather girdle around his waist, and ate locusts and wild honey. [7] And he
preached, saying, “After me comes he who is mightier than I, the thong of whose
sandals I am not worthy to stoop down and untie. [8] I have baptized you with
water, but he will baptize you with the Holy Spirit.”

*********************************************************************************************
Commentary:

1. With these words St Mark gives us the title of his book and emphasizes that
Jesus is the Messiah foretold by the prophets and that he is the only Son of the
Father, whose nature he shares. The title summarizes the content of the Second
Gospel: Jesus Christ, true God and true Man.

The word “gospel” means good tidings, the good news God sends to mankind
through his Son. The content of this good news is, in the first place, Jesus Christ
himself, his words and his actions. “During the Synod [1974 Synod of Bishops],
the Bishops very frequently referred to this truth: Jesus himself, the Good News
of God (Mk 1:1, Rom 1:13), was the very first and the greatest evangelizer: he
was so through and through, to perfection and to the point of the sacrifice of his
earthly life” (Paul VI, “Evangelii Nuntiandi”, 7). The Apostles, who were chosen
by our Lord to be the basis of his Church, fulfilled his commandment to present
to Jews and Gentiles, by means of oral preaching, the witness of what they had
seen and heard—the fulfillment in Jesus Christ of the prophecies of the Old Tes-
tament, and the forgiveness of sins, adoptive sonship and inheritance of heaven
offered by God to all men. For this reason the word “gospel” can also be used
in the case of the Apostles’ preaching.

Later, the evangelists, inspired by the Holy Spirit, wrote down part of this oral
teaching; and thus, through Sacred Scripture and apostolic Tradition, the voice
of Christ is perpetuated throughout the centuries to reach all generations and
all nations.

The Church, which carries on the mission of the Apostles, must make the “gos-
pel” known. This it does, for example, by means of catechesis: “The primary and
essential object of catechesis is, to use an expression dear to St Paul and also
to contemporary theology, ‘the mystery of Christ.’ [...] It is therefore to reveal in
the Person of Christ the whole of God’s eternal design reaching fulfillment in that
Person. It is to seek to understand the meaning of Christ’s actions and words
and of the signs worked by him, for they simultaneously hide and reveal his mys-
tery. Accordingly, the definitive aim of catechesis is to put people not only in
touch but in communion, in intimacy, with Jesus Christ: only he can lead us to
the love of the Father in the Spirit and make us share in the life of the Holy Trini-
ty” (Bl. John Paul II, “Catechesi Tradendae”, 5).

2-3. The Gospel quotes Isaiah in particular perhaps because he was the most im-
portant of the prophets who foretold the coming of the Messiah: that is why St Je-
rome called Isaiah the “Evangelist of the Old Testament”.

4. St John the Baptist presents himself to the people after spending five years in
the desert. He invites the Israelites to prepare for the coming of the Messiah by
doing penance. The figure of St John points to the continuity between the Old
and New Testaments: he is the last of the prophets and the first of the witnesses
to Jesus. Whereas the other prophets announced Jesus from afar, John the Bap-
tist was given the special privilege of actually pointing him out (cf. Jn 1:29; Mt 11:
9-11).

The baptism given by the Precursor was not Christian Baptism: it was a peniten-
tial rite; but it prefigured the dispositions needed for Christian Baptism — faith in
Christ, the Messiah, the source of grace, and voluntary detachment from sin.

5. “Confessing their sins”: by seeking John’s baptism a person showed that he
realized he was a sinner: the rite which John performed announced forgiveness
of sins through a change of heart and helped remove obstacles in the way of a
person’s acceptance of the Kingdom (Lk 3:10-14).

This confessing of sin was not the same as the Christian sacrament of Penance.
But it was pleasing to God because it was a sign of interior repentance and the
people performed genuine penitential acts (Mt 3:7-10; Lk 3:7-9). In the Sacra-
ment of Penance, in order to obtain God’s forgiveness one must confess one’s
sins orally. In this connection Bl. John Paul II has said: “And keep in mind that
the teaching of the Council of Trent on the need for confession of all mortal sins
still holds and will always hold (Sess. XIV, Chap. 5 and Can. 7). The norm taught
by St Paul and by the same Council of Trent, according to which the worthy re-
ception of the Eucharist must be preceded by the confession of sins when one
is conscious of mortal sin, is and always will be in force in the Church (Sess.
XIII, Chap. 7 and Can. 11)” (”Address to Penitentiaries of the Four Major Basili-
cas in Rome”, 30 January 1981).

8. “Baptizing with the Holy Spirit” refers to the Baptism Jesus will institute and
shows how it differs from the baptism of John. In John’s baptism, as in the other
rites of the Old Testament, grace was only signified, symbolized. “By the bap-
tism of the New Law, men are baptized inwardly by the Holy Spirit, and this is
accomplished by God alone. But by the baptism of John the body alone was
cleansed by the water” (St. Thomas Aquinas, “Summa Theologiae, III, q. 38, art.
2 ad 1). In Christian Baptism, instituted by our Lord, the baptismal rite not only
signifies grace but is the effective cause of grace, i.e. it confers grace. “Baptism
confers the first sanctifying grace and the supernatural virtues, taking away Ori-
ginal Sin and also personal sins if there are any, together with the entire debt of
punishment which the baptized person owes for sin. In addition, Baptism impres-
ses the Christian character in the soul and makes it able to receive the other sa-
craments” (”St. Pius X Catechism”, 295). The effects of Christian Baptism, like
everything to do with the sanctification of souls, are attributed to the Holy Spirit,
the “Sanctifier”. It should be pointed out, however, that like all the “ad extra” ac-
tions of God (i.e. actions external to the intimate life of the Blessed Trinity), the
sanctification of souls is the work of all three Divine Persons.

*********************************************************************************************
Source: “The Navarre Bible: Text and Commentaries”. Biblical text from the
Revised Standard Version and New Vulgate. Commentaries by members of
the Faculty of Theology, University of Navarre, Spain.

Published by Four Courts Press, Kill Lane, Blackrock, Co. Dublin, Ireland, and
by Scepter Publishers in the United States.


5 posted on 12/03/2011 7:56:22 PM PST by Salvation ("With God all things are possible." Matthew 19:26)
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To: All
Scripture readings taken from the Jerusalem Bible, published and copyright © 1966, 1967 and 1968 by Darton, Longman & Todd

Mass Readings


First reading Isaiah 40:1-5,9-11 ©
‘Console my people, console them’
says your God.
‘Speak to the heart of Jerusalem
and call to her
that her time of service is ended,
that her sin is atoned for,
that she has received from the hand of the Lord
double punishment for all her crimes.’
A voice cries, ‘Prepare in the wilderness
a way for the Lord.
Make a straight highway for our God
across the desert.
Let every valley be filled in,
every mountain and hill be laid low.
Let every cliff become a plain,
and the ridges a valley;
then the glory of the Lord shall be revealed
and all mankind shall see it;
for the mouth of the Lord has spoken.’
Go up on a high mountain,
joyful messenger to Zion.
Shout with a loud voice,
joyful messenger to Jerusalem.
Shout without fear,
say to the towns of Judah,
‘Here is your God.’
Here is the Lord coming with power,
his arm subduing all things to him.
The prize of his victory is with him,
his trophies all go before him.
He is like a shepherd feeding his flock,
gathering lambs in his arms,
holding them against his breast
and leading to their rest the mother ewes.

Psalm Psalm 84:9-14 ©
Let us see, O Lord, your mercy, and give us your saving help.
I will hear what the Lord God has to say,
  a voice that speaks of peace,
  peace for his people.
His help is near for those who fear him
  and his glory will dwell in our land.
Let us see, O Lord, your mercy, and give us your saving help.
Mercy and faithfulness have met;
  justice and peace have embraced.
Faithfulness shall spring from the earth
  and justice look down from heaven.
Let us see, O Lord, your mercy, and give us your saving help.
The Lord will make us prosper
  and our earth shall yield its fruit.
Justice shall march before him
  and peace shall follow his steps.
Let us see, O Lord, your mercy, and give us your saving help.

Second reading 2 Peter 3:8-14 ©
There is one thing, my friends, that you must never forget: that with the Lord, ‘a day’ can mean a thousand years, and a thousand years is like a day. The Lord is not being slow to carry out his promises, as anybody else might be called slow; but he is being patient with you all, wanting nobody to be lost and everybody to be brought to change his ways. The Day of the Lord will come like a thief, and then with a roar the sky will vanish, the elements will catch fire and fall apart, the earth and all that it contains will be burnt up.
  Since everything is coming to an end like this, you should be living holy and saintly lives while you wait and long for the Day of God to come, when the sky will dissolve in flames and the elements melt in the heat. What we are waiting for is what he promised: the new heavens and new earth, the place where righteousness will be at home. So then, my friends, while you are waiting, do your best to live lives without spot or stain so that he will find you at peace.

Gospel Acclamation Lk3:4,6
Alleluia, alleluia!
Prepare a way for the Lord,
make his paths straight,
and all mankind shall see the salvation of God.
Alleluia!

Gospel Mark 1:1-8 ©
The beginning of the Good News about Jesus Christ, the Son of God. It is written in the book of the prophet Isaiah:
Look, I am going to send my messenger before you;
he will prepare your way.
A voice cries in the wilderness:
Prepare a way for the Lord, make his paths straight.
and so it was that John the Baptist appeared in the wilderness, proclaiming a baptism of repentance for the forgiveness of sins. All Judaea and all the people of Jerusalem made their way to him, and as they were baptised by him in the river Jordan they confessed their sins. John wore a garment of camel-skin, and he lived on locusts and wild honey. In the course of his preaching he said, ‘Someone is following me, someone who is more powerful than I am, and I am not fit to kneel down and undo the strap of his sandals. I have baptised you with water, but he will baptise you with the Holy Spirit.’

6 posted on 12/03/2011 7:59:13 PM PST by Salvation ("With God all things are possible." Matthew 19:26)
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Best Advent Hymn
Advent: Jesus is Coming!
Why Do Catholics Celebrate Advent? The Call to Begin Again (Ecumenical Caucus)
Resources for Liturgy and Prayer for the Seasons of Advent and Christmas [Catholic Caucus]
New prayers for Advent season [Catholic Caucus[ (Read and Rejoice!)
Father Cantalamessa's 3rd Advent Homily, "The Christian Response to Rationalism"

Father Cantalamessa's 2nd Advent Sermon, "The Christian Response to Secularism"
Evangelization Needs Belief in Eternity, Says Preacher, Father Cantalamessa Gives Advent Sermon to Pope and Curia
Father Corapi: How Do We Prepare Well for the Coming of the Lord
Father Cantalamessa's 1st Advent Sermon: "The Christian Answer to Atheist Scientism"
A Simple Way to Pray around the Advent Wreath: Prayers for Every Day During Advent
Advent 2010 -- Day by Day
History, Customs and Folklore of Advent [Catholic/Orthodox Caucus]
Ready or Not: Here Advent Comes
The Journey To Bethlehem is Not Comfortable! (Last week of Advent)
Humble Praise and Joyful Anticipation: Fourth Sunday of Advent

Celebrating Advent in a Culture of Fear
Grave of the Craving (Do We Embrace our Dependence on God during Advent?)
Advent -- A Season of Hope
A New Holiday Tradition -- Construct a Jesse Tree with your family during Advent
Pope on Advent: With Jesus, there is no life without meaning
Advent: Awaiting God's Justice -- Pope Benedict XVI
St. Andrew: Lighting the way for Advent
Advent Reflections for 2008
Bringing our fallen-away relations back to Church during Advent
History and Symbolism of the Advent Wreath

Rediscovering Advent in the (St.) Nick of Time
Catholic Traditions for Advent and Christmas
Mary's Gift of Self Points the Way, "The Blessed Mother and Advent", Part 1 of 4
The Perfect Faith of the Blessed Virgin "The Blessed Mother and Advent", Part 2 of 4
Theotokos sums up all that Mary is: "The Blessed Mother and Advent", Part 3 of 4
Reclaiming the Mystery of Advent, Part One: The Meaning of Advent
Renewing the Mystery of Advent, Part Two: The Witness of John the Baptist
Why “Gaudete?”, Part Three (Third Sunday of Advent)
Sunday before Nativity
Holy Mary and the Death of Sin - "The Blessed Mother and Advent", Part 4 of 4

Catholic Liturgy - Rose-Colored Vestments on Gaudete Sunday
Advent through Christmas -- 2007
Immaculate Conception Novena -- starts November 30th [Catholic/Orthodox Caucus]
Advent 2007 -- Day by Day
Making Advent a Reality (the seasons are out of whack)
The Advent Workshop -- lots of information and activities
Jesse Trees (genealogy of Jesus activity for families)
Advent Wreath & Candles (Prayers for the Family)
Advent Overview
Reclaiming the Mystery of Advent, Part One: The Meaning of Advent

Celebrating Christ’s Advent [Archbishop Raymond Burke]
Praying through Advent -- 2006
The Paradox of Advent
Experience the Joy of Advent
Advent: the Reason for the Season
The Advent Wreath
Advent Activity - The Jesse Tree
That incredible shrinking Advent-Christmas season (Christmas should start, not end, Dec. 25)
Advent Thoughts: Some of the Church Fathers on the Divinity of Christ
The Relationship Between Advent and the Change in the Seasons (Dom Guéranger)

7 posted on 12/03/2011 8:07:37 PM PST by Salvation ("With God all things are possible." Matthew 19:26)
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Catholic Caucus: Immaculate Conception Novena Prayer Thread

8 posted on 12/03/2011 8:08:47 PM PST by Salvation ("With God all things are possible." Matthew 19:26)
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Prayers for The Religion Forum (Ecumenical)
9 posted on 12/03/2011 8:19:57 PM PST by Salvation ("With God all things are possible." Matthew 19:26)
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Continue to Pray for Pope Benedict [Ecumenical]
10 posted on 12/03/2011 8:20:39 PM PST by Salvation ("With God all things are possible." Matthew 19:26)
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To: All
 
Jesus, High Priest
 

We thank you, God our Father, for those who have responded to your call to priestly ministry.

Accept this prayer we offer on their behalf: Fill your priests with the sure knowledge of your love.

Open their hearts to the power and consolation of the Holy Spirit.

Lead them to new depths of union with your Son.

Increase in them profound faith in the Sacraments they celebrate as they nourish, strengthen and heal us.

Lord Jesus Christ, grant that these, your priests, may inspire us to strive for holiness by the power of their example, as men of prayer who ponder your word and follow your will.

O Mary, Mother of Christ and our mother, guard with your maternal care these chosen ones, so dear to the Heart of your Son.

Intercede for our priests, that offering the Sacrifice of your Son, they may be conformed more each day to the image of your Son, our Lord and Savior, Jesus Christ. Amen.

Saint John Vianney, universal patron of priests, pray for us and our priests

This icon shows Jesus Christ, our eternal high priest.

The gold pelican over His heart represents self-sacrifice.

The border contains an altar and grapevines, representing the Mass, and icons of Melchizedek and St. Jean-Baptiste Vianney.

Melchizedek: king of righteousness (left icon) was priest and king of Jerusalem.  He blessed Abraham and has been considered an ideal priest-king.

St. Jean-Baptiste Vianney is the patron saint of parish priests.

11 posted on 12/03/2011 8:21:15 PM PST by Salvation ("With God all things are possible." Matthew 19:26)
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Pray a Rosary each day for our nation.

Pray the Rosary

1.  Sign of the Cross:  In the name of the Father, and of the Son, and of the Holy Spirit.  Amen.

2.  The Apostles Creed:  I BELIEVE in God, the Father almighty, Creator of heaven and earth. I believe in Jesus Christ, His only Son, our Lord. He was conceived by the power of the Holy Spirit and born of the Virgin Mary. He suffered under Pontius Pilate, was crucified, died, and was buried. He descended to the dead. On the third day He rose again. He ascended into heaven and sits at the right hand of God, the Father Almighty. From thence He shall come to judge the living and the dead. I believe in the Holy Spirit, the holy catholic Church, the communion of saints, the forgiveness of sins, the resurrection of the body, and the life everlasting. Amen.

3.  The Lord's Prayer:  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.

4. (3) Hail Mary:  HAIL Mary, full of grace, the Lord is with thee. Blessed art thou amongst women and blessed is the fruit of thy womb, Jesus. Holy Mary, Mother of God, pray for us sinners, now, and in the hour of our death. Amen. (Three times)

5. Glory Be:  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.

Fatima Prayer: Oh, my Jesus, forgive us our sins, save us from the fires of hell, lead all souls to heaven, especially those in most need of your mercy.

Announce each mystery, then say 1 Our Father, 10 Hail Marys, 1 Glory Be and 1 Fatima prayer.  Repeat the process with each mystery.

End with the Hail Holy Queen:

Hail, Holy Queen, Mother of Mercy, our life, our sweetness and our hope! To thee do we cry, poor banished children of Eve! To thee do we send up our sighs, mourning and weeping in this vale of tears! Turn then, most gracious advocate, thine eyes of mercy towards us; and after this, our exile, show unto us the blessed fruit of thy womb, Jesus!

O clement, O loving, O sweet Virgin Mary! Pray for us, O holy Mother of God, that we may be made worthy of the promises of Christ.

Final step -- The Sign of the Cross

 

The Mysteries of the Rosary

By tradition, Catholics meditate on these Mysteries during prayers of the Rosary.
The biblical references follow each of the Mysteries below.


The Glorious Mysteries
(Wednesdays and Sundays)
1.The Resurrection (Matthew 28:1-8, Mark 16:1-18, Luke 24:1-12, John 20:1-29) [Spiritual fruit - Faith]
2. The Ascension (Mark 16:19-20, Luke 24:50-53, Acts 1:6-11) [Spiritual fruit - Christian Hope]
3. The Descent of the Holy Ghost (Acts 2:1-13) [Spiritual fruit - Gifts of the Holy Spirit]
4. The Assumption [Spiritual fruit - To Jesus through Mary]
5. The Coronation [Spiritual fruit - Grace of Final Perseverance]


12 posted on 12/03/2011 8:22:39 PM PST by Salvation ("With God all things are possible." Matthew 19:26)
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~ PRAYER ~

St. Michael, the Archangel, defend us in battle
 Be our protection against the wickedness
and snares of the devil;
May God rebuke him, we  humbly pray,
 and do thou, O Prince of the heavenly host,
 by the power of God,
 Cast into hell Satan and all the evil spirits
who prowl through the world seeking the ruin of souls.
 Amen
+

13 posted on 12/03/2011 8:23:14 PM PST by Salvation ("With God all things are possible." Matthew 19:26)
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14 posted on 12/03/2011 8:25:08 PM PST by Salvation ("With God all things are possible." Matthew 19:26)
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God Save Our Country web site (prayer warriors)
Prayer Chain Request for the United States of America
Pray for Nancy Pelosi
Prayer and fasting will help defeat health care reform (Freeper Prayer Thread)
Prayer Campaign Started to Convert Pro-Abortion Catholic Politicians to Pro-Life
[Catholic Caucus] One Million Rosaries
Non-stop Rosary vigil to defeat ObamaCare

From an Obama bumper sticker on a car:

"Pray for Obama.  Psalm 109:8"

Psalm 109:8

    "Let his days be few; and let another take his place of leadership."

PLEASE JOIN US -

Evening Prayer
Someone has said that if people really understood the full extent of the power we have available through prayer, we might be speechless.
Did you know that during WWII there was an advisor to Churchill who organized a group of people who dropped what they were doing every day at a prescribed hour for one minute to collectively pray for the safety of England, its people and peace?  


There is now a group of people organizing the same thing here in America. If you would like to participate: Every evening at 9:00 PM Eastern Time (8:00 PM Central) (7:00 PM Mountain) (6:00 PM Pacific), stop whatever you are doing and spend one minute praying for the safety of the United States, our troops, our citizens, and for a return to a Godly nation. If you know anyone else who would like to participate, please pass this along. Our prayers are the most powerful asset we have.    Please forward this to your praying friends.


15 posted on 12/03/2011 8:26:10 PM PST by Salvation ("With God all things are possible." Matthew 19:26)
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immaculate_conception.jpg (155743 bytes)

December Devotion: The Immaculate Conception

Since the 16th century Catholic piety has assigned entire months to special devotions. The month of December is traditionally dedicated to the Immaculate Conception. The Blessed Virgin Mary, in the first moment of her conception, by a singular privilege of Almighty God, and in view of the merits of Jesus Christ, our Savior and hers, was preserved from all stain of original sin. This age-old belief of the Church was defined by Pope Pius IX in 1854 as an article of revealed truth.

Mary was in need of redemption and she was indeed redeemed by the Precious Blood of Jesus Christ. The manner of Mary's redemption, however, was unique. Instead of being freed from original sin after having contracted it, she was preserved from contracting it. This was a most fitting favor for the Mother of the Redeemer.

INVOCATION
O Mary, conceived without sin, pray for us who have recourse to thee.

TO THE VIRGIN IMMACULATE
O Virgin Immaculate, Mother of God and my Mother, from thy sublime height turn upon me thine eyes of pity. Filled with confidence in thy goodness and knowing full well thy power, I beseech thee to extend to. me thine assistance in the journey of life, which is so full of dangers for my soul. And in order that I may never be the slave of the devil through sin, , but may ever live with my heart humble and pure, I entrust myself wholly to thee. I consecrate my heart to thee for ever, my only desire being to love thy divine Son Jesus. Mary, none of thy devout servants has ever perished; may I too be saved. Amen.

PRAYER OF PRAISE
O pure and immaculate and likewise blessed Virgin, who art the sinless Mother of thy Son, the mighty Lord of the universe, thou who art inviolate and altogether holy, the hope of the hopeless and sinful, we sing thy praises. We bless thee, as full of every grace, thou who didst bear the God-Man: we all bow low before thee; we invoke thee and implore thine aid. Rescue us, 0 holy and inviolate Virgin, from every necessity that presses upon us and from all the temptations of the devil. Be our intercessor and advocate at the hour of death and judgment; deliver us from the fire that is not extinguished and from the outer darkness; make us worthy of the glory of thy Son, O dearest and most clement Virgin Mother. Thou indeed art our only hope, most sure and sacred in God's sight, to whom be honor and glory, majesty and dominion for ever and ever world without end. Amen.   
Saint Ephrem the Syrian

PRAYER OF POPE PIUS XII
This prayer, dedicated to Mary Immaculate, was composed by the Pope for the Marian Year (December 8, 1953-December 8, 1954), which was proclaimed to mark the centenary of the definition of the dogma of the Immaculate Conception.

Enraptured by the splendor of your heavenly beauty, and impelled by the anxieties of the world, we cast ourselves into your arms, 0 Immacuate Mother of Jesus and our Mother, Mary, confident of finding in your most loving heart appeasement of our ardent desires, and a safe harbor from the tempests which beset us on every side.

Though degraded by our faults and overwhelmed by infinite misery, we admire and praise the peerless richness of sublime gifts with which God has filled you, above every other mere creature, from the first moment of your conception until the day on which, after your assumption into heaven, He crowned you Queen of the Universe.

O crystal fountain of faith, bathe our minds with the eternal truths! O fragrant Lily of all holiness, captivate our hearts with your heavenly perfume! 0 Conqueress of evil and death, inspire in us a deep horror of sin, which makes the soul detestable to God and a slave of hell!

O well-beloved of God, hear the ardent cry which rises up from every heart. Bend tenderly over our aching wounds. Convert the wicked, dry the tears of the afflicted and oppressed, comfort the poor and humble, quench hatreds, sweeten harshness, safeguard the flower of purity in youth, protect the holy Church, make all men feel the attraction of Christian goodness. In your name, resounding harmoniously in heaven, may they recognize that they are brothers, and that the nations are members of one family, upon which may there shine forth the sun of a universal and sincere peace.

Receive, O most sweet Mother, our humble supplications, and above all obtain for us that, one day, happy with you, we may repeat before your throne that hymn which today is sung on earth around your altars: You are all-beautiful, O Mary! You are the glory, you are the joy, you are the honor of our people! Amen.

Prayer Source: Prayer Book, The by Reverend John P. O'Connell, M.A., S.T.D. and Jex Martin, M.A., The Catholic Press, Inc., Chicago, Illinois, 1954

Catholic Caucus: Immaculate Conception Novena Prayer Thread
New chapel dedicated to Our Lady of Lebanon at National Shrine of the Immaculate Conception
Feast of the The Conception by St. Anna of the Most Holy Theotokos December 9th
On the Immaculate Conception
Immaculate Mary: "Trust Jesus, he will save you" (Catholic Caucus)
I Love that Woman! My Unworthy Reflections on The Immaculate Conception

LAND OF MARY IMMACULATE [Ecumenical]
Mary as the New Eve - St. Irenaeus
Mary - the Immaculate Ark of the New Covenant [Catholic Caucus]
THE LIFE OF BLESSED JOHN DUNS SCOTUS, Defender of the Immaculate Conception [Catholic Caucus]
An Unfathomable Marian Richness [Catholic Caucus]
Catholic Biblical Apologetics: The Immaculate Conception of Mary
History of the Feast of the Immaculate Conception - December 8 [Catholic Caucus]
Preserved Sinless from the Moment of Humanity (Dogma of the Immaculate Conception) [Catholic Caucus]
I Love that Woman! My Unworthy Reflections on The Immaculate Conception [Catholic Caucus]
Father Marquette's Devotion to the Immaculate Conception (Catholic Caucus)

St. John Neumann and the Doctrine of the Immaculate Conception (Catholic Caucus)
Our Jewish Roots: The Immaculate Conception [Ecumenical]
And It Was Night. The Real Story of Original Sin [Ecumenical]
I Love that Woman! My Unworthy Reflections on The Immaculate Conception
Mary Immaculate: Patroness of the United States [Catholic/Orthodox Caucus]
Catholic/Orthodox Caucus: The Immaculate Conception: A Marvelous Theme - Novena Starts Nov. 30
THE IMMACULATE CONCEPTION - Satan's Mighty Foe(Catholic Caucus)
Ark of the new covenant
Historian reveals how Pius IX decided to proclaim dogma of Immaculate Conception (Catholic Caucus)
The Immaculate Vs. the Proud

Immaculate Conception Novena -- starts November 30th [Catholic/Orthodox Caucus]
Blessed John Duns Scotus Champion Of Mary's Immaculate Conception (CATHOLIC CAUCUS)
The Crusade of Mary Immaculate - St. Maximilian Kolbe (Catholic Caucus)
The Early Church Fathers on the Immaculate Conception - Catholic/Orthodox Caucus
Three Reasons the Church’s Enemies Hate The Immaculate Conception
Her saving grace - the origins of the Immaculate Conception
Mary Is a Model Who Works With Us and in Us
U.S. Catholic bishops to renew consecration of nation to Immaculate Conception
Catholic Meditation: To the Immaculate Conception on this Election Day
Saint Bernadette of Lourdes (Sermon from 1934)

My visit to the National Shrine of the Immaculate Conception
On Solemnity of Immaculate Conception - "In Mary Shines the Eternal Goodness of the Creator"
The Belief of Catholics concerning the Blessed Virgin: the Second Eve
Pope makes pilgrimage to Mary statue in Rome, marking the feast of the Immaculate Conception
Pope: Mary the Immaculate Conception... (text of BXVI speech)
"Tota pulchra es, Maria, et macula originalis non est in te" (The Immaculate Conception)
The Immaculate Conception — Essential to the Faith
"Who Are You, Immaculate Conception?"
TURKEY Ephesus: The Feast of the Immaculate Conception at Mary’s House
Coming Dec 8th. Feast of the "Immaculate Conception"

Why the Immaculate Conception?
Catholic Encyclopedia: Immaculate Conception (The Doctrine and Its Roots)
The Immaculate Conception of Our Lady December 8
Mary's Immaculate Conception: A Memorable Anniversary
Ineffabilis Deus: 8 December 1854 (Dogma of the Immaculate Conception)
Why do we believe in the Immaculate Conception?
John Paul II goes to Lourdes; reflections on the Immaculate Conception
Your Praises We Sing--on the Dogma of the Proclamation of the Immaculate Conception, Dec. 8th
Eastern Christianity and the Immaculate Conception (Q&A From EWTN)
Memorandum on the Immaculate Conception [Newman]

16 posted on 12/03/2011 8:27:08 PM PST by Salvation ("With God all things are possible." Matthew 19:26)
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December, 2011

Pope Benedict XVI's Intentions

General Intention: That the nations of the earth, through knowledge and mutual respect, may grow in harmony and peace.

Missionary Intention: That children and young people may be messengers of the Gospel and that their dignity may always be respected and preserved from all violence and exploitation.


17 posted on 12/03/2011 8:31:04 PM PST by Salvation ("With God all things are possible." Matthew 19:26)
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Arlington Catholic Herald

GOSPEL COMMENTARY MK 1:1-8
Get in shape for Christmas
By Fr. Jack Peterson, YA

Two of my brothers in Youth Apostles ran in the Marine Corps Marathon last month. I admire people who are motivated enough to accomplish such a monumental task. One of them shared with me an outline of the intense preparations he made for that day, which included an intense, well-formulated running schedule, dietary program and sleep regimen. It is hardly surprising that so much preparation is needed in order to run more than 26 miles in one morning.

Christmas recalls a pivotal moment in the history of mankind and a fundamental mystery of faith in the life of every Christian. It makes sense that we as grateful Christians would make serious preparations for this monumental celebration of God’s goodness and beauty. In order to truly celebrate the event of the Word-made-flesh, we must take time to prepare ourselves spiritually. This is one main purpose of Advent.

John the Baptist was sent by God to help humanity prepare for the coming of the Son of God to dwell among us. Both John’s life and his message helped to prepare the way 2,000 years ago. His life and his message remain very helpful for our preparations today.

John’s life was marked by a powerful humility. As effective as his ministry was and as large as the crowds were that came to hear him speak, John never lost focus on his mission. He never got caught up in the notoriety or the importance of his ministry; rather, he took every opportunity possible to point people to Jesus and to state what was in his heart, “One mightier than I is coming after me. I am not worthy to stoop and loosen the thongs of his sandals.” We can learn so much from John’s humility and focus on his vocation.

John’s message was simple and direct. It helped that the people of God had been without a prophet for many years and that they were hungering for a refreshing, authoritative word from God. Mark the Evangelist said that John “appeared in the desert proclaiming a baptism of repentance for the forgiveness of sins.” God is making it clear that there is no welcoming of Christ into our hearts without an awareness that my life is not as it should be, that I have turned away from the Lord and wandered from the path to life. I have offended God and hurt myself and my neighbor. If I do not see this reality, then I do not need Jesus to come among us and set me free.

The good news includes the fact that God is patient with us as we fumble our way on this journey back to Him. St. Peter teaches that God “is patient with you, not wishing that any should perish but that all should come to repentance.” God wants every one of us to return to Him and receive His life-giving mercy; He shutters at the thought of even one of us perishing because we fail to either recognize our need for reconciliation or His burning desire to extend it to us.

One of the greatest graces in life is the sacrament of penance. It is a place where God speaks to us so tenderly, forgives us so generously and comforts us so warmly. Isaiah the prophet, inspired by the Holy Spirit, speaks of the grace of the sacrament: “Comfort, give comfort to my people, says your God. Speak tenderly to Jerusalem, and proclaim to her that her service is at an end, her guilt is expiated.”

As we prepare for Christmas and the coming of Christ, Healer and Redeemer, it makes sense to heed John’s message of repentance. Make use of the great sacrament of penance this Advent.

It also makes sense to imitate John’s humility and his desire to bring others to Christ. Perhaps we can make a commitment this Advent to invite one friend or family member to join us for a prayerful event at our home or at our parish in order to help them to encounter Christ anew this Christmas.

Finally, with all that we do this Advent in preparation for the coming of Christ, may we share in the mission of the Church, prophetically proclaimed by Isaiah: “Go up onto a high mountain, Zion, herald of glad tidings; cry out at the top of your voice, Jerusalem, herald of good news! Fear not to cry out and say to the cities of Judah; Here is your God! Here comes with power the Lord God, who rules with his strong arm.”

Fr. Peterson is assistant chaplain at Marymount University in Arlington and director of the Youth Apostles Institute in McLean.


18 posted on 12/03/2011 8:45:52 PM PST by Salvation ("With God all things are possible." Matthew 19:26)
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The Work of God

  Prepare the way for the Lord, make his paths straight - John the Baptist Catholic Gospels - Homilies - Matthew, Luke, Mark, John - Inspirations of the Holy Spirit

Year B

 -  Second Sunday of Advent

Prepare the way for the Lord, make his paths straight - John the Baptist

Prepare the way for the Lord, make his paths straight - John the Baptist Catholic Gospels - Matthew, Luke, Mark, John - Inspirations of the Holy Spirit Mark 1:1-8

1 The beginning of the good news of Jesus Christ, the Son of God.
2 As it is written in the prophet Isaiah, "See, I am sending my messenger ahead of you, who will prepare your way;
3 the voice of one crying out in the wilderness: 'Prepare the way of the Lord, make his paths straight,' "
4 John the baptizer appeared in the wilderness, proclaiming a baptism of repentance for the forgiveness of sins.
5 And people from the whole Judean countryside and all the people of Jerusalem were going out to him, and were baptized by him in the river Jordan, confessing their sins.
6 Now John was clothed with camel's hair, with a leather belt around his waist, and he ate locusts and wild honey.
7 He proclaimed, "The one who is more powerful than I is coming after me; I am not worthy to stoop down and untie the thong of his sandals.
8 I have baptized you with water; but he will baptize you with the Holy Spirit."
(NRSV)

Inspiration of the Holy Spirit - From the Sacred Heart of Jesus

Second Sunday of Advent - Prepare the way for the Lord, make his paths straight - John the Baptist “Prepare the way of the Lord, make his paths straight”. This was the work assigned to my prophet John the Baptist.

Before he was even born, he was filled with the Holy Spirit in the womb of Elizabeth his mother, at the time of the visitation of my mother. He grew up as a holy man like no other before him, because he was given the task of preparing the way for my coming as the saviour of the world.

He was a humble man, who practiced austerity and self-denial; he offered his entire life to my service until the day he was put to death by Herod.

His preaching encompassed my entire message, which is that you all repent, because my kingdom is very near to you, he baptized with water and proclaimed my baptism with the fire of the Holy Spirit. In humility he declared his unworthiness in my presence, because he acknowledged that I was the Son of God, the Lamb of God who takes away the sins of the world.

He was given the honour of baptizing me, in order for me to sanctify the waters of baptism, to allow you all to be washed of your sins and become part of my mystical body.

His mission was to call people to repentance, so that they could be worthy to meet me and obtain their salvation.

His work has been passed down to all of you who come to believe in me and to follow me. When you repent of your own sins and come humbly before me, you receive my greatest gift, the fire of the Holy Spirit; which transforms the normal man into a new Christ, a reflection of my own being. Your apostolate will be to bring me souls, so that they will be saved.

I call you all to be transformed by me. Prepare the way for the Lord by your repentance, by your humility, by your devotions and your life in imitation of me.

I will do my silent work in your soul and make you a child of God, I will sanctify you and give you my wisdom, I will grant you my peace and bless you to live joyfully for me.

Author: Joseph of Jesus and Mary


19 posted on 12/03/2011 8:59:02 PM PST by Salvation ("With God all things are possible." Matthew 19:26)
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To: Salvation
Archdiocese of Washington

An old spiritual says, God gave Noah the rainbow sign, No more water, but the fire next time. The second reading in today’s Mass speaks to us of the “Fire next time” and again reminds of the need to be ready for the coming of the Lord. Note four aspects of this reading:

1. The PATIENCE that is PURPOSEFUL. The text says, Do not ignore this one fact, beloved, that with the Lord one day is like a thousand years and a thousand years like one day. The Lord does not delay his promise, as some regard “delay,” but he is patient with you, not wishing that any should perish but that all should come to repentance.

Though the Lord seems long delayed in coming (2000+ years!), the text tells us that this patience is so that as many of us can be saved as possible.

But notice that the text says that God wants us to come to repentance. So God’s patience should not be seen as a place for presumption, but, rather, a time for repentance. This is no time to say, “Later.” This is a time to be serious about repentance and preparation to meet the Lord.

Note too that the Greek word here translated as repentance is μετάνοιαν (metanoian), referring not just to better behavior, but also to new mind. For our transformation is not merely external but also internal. When, what we think changes, so does our behavior. When our thinking is conformed to God’s revealed truth, our priorities, feelings, desires and decisions all begin to change as well. Conversion and repentance are the result of being a changed and transformed human being with a new mind.

2. The PASSING that is PERILOUS. The text says, But the day of the Lord will come like a thief, and then the heavens will pass away with a mighty roar and the elements will be dissolved by fire, and the earth and everything done on it will be found out.

In effect, the text says that God’s gonna set this world on fire one of these days. And when he comes it will be

A. Sudden – For the text says that the Day of the Lord will come like a thief. This is quite a consistent image that Jesus used for the Day of Judgement as well. But the image should not be true for us who wait and watch. St. Paul says, But you, brothers, are not in darkness so that this day should surprise you like a thief….So then, let us not be like others, who are asleep, but let us be alert and self-controlled. (1 Thess 5:4,6).

Further the image of the thief is also not for us if we realize that all we have and are belong to God. For those who are worldly, and claim authority over themselves and ownership over their things, God is a thief who comes suddenly, and in a hidden way. He overtakes their apparent ownership and possession and puts an end to it. To them he seems a thief as he “steals” what they consider theirs. They are badly misled.

But for we who watch and are prepared (pray God), the Lord comes not to take, but to give; to bestow and reward as we inherit His Kingdom.

B. Shocking - For the text speaks of the heavens as roaring and of fire which overwhelms, and by it, all will be dissolved with fire.

Now here too, the image, though shocking, should not alarm us if we are already on fire. At Pentecost, and personally, at our baptism and confirmation, the Lord lit a fire in us to set us spiritually on fire; to  bring us up to the temperature of glory. Thus, for those in the Lord, the “weather” on that day will seem just fine.

The prophet Malachi speaks of the twofold experience of the Day of the Lord in this way: “Surely the day is coming; it will burn like a furnace. All the arrogant and every evildoer will be stubble, and that day that is coming will set them on fire,” says the Lord Almighty. “Not a root or a branch will be left to them. But for you who revere my name, the sun of righteousness will rise with healing in its wings. Notice therefore, that for some the Day is burning with wrathful heat, but for the Just, it is a sunny day wherein the Sun (Son) of righteousness will bring warmth and healing (Mal 4:1-3).

An old spiritual glosses on this verse saying, God gave Noah the rainbow sign, no water but the fire next time. Thus God wants to get us ready by setting us on fire with his love and grace. If God is a Holy Fire then we must become fire ourselves in order to endure the day of his coming.

C. Showing – for the text says, all things will be revealed.

So it would seem that this fire burns away the masks many people wear and they are seen for they are. The Lord says, But I tell you that men will have to give account on the day of judgment for every careless word they have spoken (Matt 12:36). And again he says, There is nothing concealed that will not be disclosed, or hidden that will not be made known. What you have said in the dark will be heard in the daylight, and what you have whispered in the ear in the inner rooms will be proclaimed from the roofs. (Lk 12:2-3).

Now even the just may wince at this, for all have a past and would prefer the past stay in the past. But I have sometimes seen, when I have visited 12 Step meetings, how many will recount vividly what they did when they were drinking. And they do so with little shame and much laughter, for they share it among those who understand, and as one who has been set free from the source of the problem. Perhaps for the just on that disclosing Day it will be like that.

But for those who are among the unrepentant, consider the embarrassment and fear as their secrets, sins and injustices are disclosed among those who are also unforgiving and unmerciful. A bad scene really.

3. The PRESCRIPTION that is PROCLAIMED – the text says, Since everything is to be dissolved in this way, what sort of persons ought you to be, conducting yourselves in holiness and devotion, waiting for and hastening the coming of the day of God, because of which the heavens will be dissolved in flames and the elements melted by fire….Therefore, beloved, since you await these things, be eager to be found without spot or blemish before him, at peace.

The text asks rhetorically “What sort of persons ought you to be?!” The answer in a word is “fiery.” God has lit a fire in us to purify and refine us. Hence on that Day, when the Lord will judge by fire, we will pass through. And though some final purifications (purgation) may take place, the fact that the fire has been kindled in us, and fanned into flame, will mean just that, purification, not destruction. St Paul describes the just as going through the purgatorial fire that leads to purfication rather than destruction in hell: If any man builds on this foundation using gold, silver, costly stones, wood, hay or straw, his work will be shown for what it is, because the Day will bring it to light. It will be revealed with fire, and the fire will test the quality of each man’s work. If what he has built survives, he will receive his reward. If it is burned up, he will suffer loss; he himself will be saved, but only as one escaping through the flames (1 Cor 3:12-15).

So the prescription for us is that we let God set us afire now so as to purify us, making us more holy and devout. The fire now of His Holy Spirit is the only thing that can truly prepare us  and permit us later to endure the day of his coming and be spared the “wrath to come” (cf 1 Thess 1:10; Matt 3:7; Romans 5:9; 1 Thess 5:9) when God will judge the world and everything in by fire.

4. The PERFECTION that is PROMISED - The text says, But according to his promise we await new heavens and a new earth in which righteousness dwells.

This text presents the possibility that the created world will not so much be destroyed as purified by this fiery judgment of God. While the text may also signify a total destruction of all that now is, and a replacement of it by a new heavens and earth, it is also debated that the created world will instead be renewed, rather than destroyed and replaced. This view would correspond with other texts (e.g. Isaiah 11); and Romans 8 For the creation was subjected to frustration, not by its own choice, but by the will of the one who subjected it, in hope that the creation itself will be liberated from its bondage to decay and brought into the glorious freedom of the children of God.(Rom 8:20-21).

Whatever the solution, to the debate, the bottom line is that the new (or renewed) world will be a heaven wedded to earth in which full righteousness of God will be manifest. Further, we will be without spot or blemish and at peace. Yes, God’s gonna set this world on fire one of these days, Hallelujah. And God’s fire purifies that which is holy, and burns away all which is lacking or unholy. God will restore all things in Christ!


20 posted on 12/03/2011 9:09:23 PM PST by Salvation ("With God all things are possible." Matthew 19:26)
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To: All
Sunday Gospel Reflections

2nd Sunday of Advent
Reading I:
Isaiah 40:1-5,9-11 II: 2Peter 3:8-14
Gospel
Mark 1:1-8

1 The beginning of the gospel of Jesus Christ, the Son of God.
2 As it is written in Isaiah the prophet, "Behold, I send my messenger before thy face, who shall prepare thy way;
3 the voice of one crying in the wilderness: Prepare the way of the Lord, make his paths straight--"
4 John the baptizer appeared in the wilderness, preaching a baptism of repentance for the forgiveness of sins.
5 And there went out to him all the country of Judea, and all the people of Jerusalem; and they were baptized by him in the river Jordan, confessing their sins.
6 Now John was clothed with camel's hair, and had a leather girdle around his waist, and ate locusts and wild honey.
7 And he preached, saying, "After me comes he who is mightier than I, the thong of whose sandals I am not worthy to stoop down and untie.
8 I have baptized you with water; but he will baptize you with the Holy Spirit."


Interesting Details
  • (v.1) In only one other place of Mark's Gospel does a human being proclaim that Jesus is Son of God: the centurion who put Jesus to death in 15:39. According to Mark, no one else would recognize Jesus' true identity while living with him and witnessing his powerful teaching and healing.
  • (v.3) It was through the terrible wilderness that God led Israel out of the slavery in Egypt in the original Exodus; and it was also through the dreaded wilderness that God brought Israel out of Babylonian exile in the second Exodus. John's appearance as the voice in the wilderness is the sign that in the wilderness God is about to renew his covenant with Israel.
  • (v.5) "... ALL the country of Judea, and ALL the people of Jerusalem ..." conveys an excitement that must have been experienced by those who heard John preach. Their conversion is described in a threefold manner: First, they "went out to him", to return to the "wilderness". Second, they undergo the ritual of baptism as the sign demonstrating their inner repentance. And third, they confess their sins.
  • (v.6) The arrival of John himself had been announced: he is the messenger (Malachi 3:1) and the wilderness prophet (Is 40:3). Like the prophet Elijah, John is clothed with a leather belt and the hairy garment of a prophet. This continues the allusion to John as the God-sent messenger-Elijah who will prepare the way of Jesus and thus enhances Mark's portrayal of John as the expected Elijah figure.

One Main Point

John calls the people of his time - and calls us, as well - to repentance for the forgiveness of sins. The main emphasis, however, is on the proclamation of Jesus as the one to come who surpasses John and whose baptism surpasses John's.


Reflections
  1. Have you ever had to wait to receive "word" about something? What emotions did you experience as you waited?
  2. Were John to appear with this message today, what one place would you choose for him to declare it?

21 posted on 12/03/2011 9:13:55 PM PST by Salvation ("With God all things are possible." Matthew 19:26)
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To: All
Sunday, December 04, 2011
Second Sunday of Advent
First Reading:
Psalm:
Second Reading:
Gospel:
Isaiah 40:1-5, 9-11
Psalm 85:9-14
2 Peter 3:8-14
Mark 1:1-8

Whatever you do, think not of yourself, but of God.

-- St Vincent Ferrer




22 posted on 12/03/2011 9:19:08 PM PST by Salvation ("With God all things are possible." Matthew 19:26)
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To: All



The Angelus 

The Angel of the Lord declared to Mary: 
And she conceived of the Holy Spirit. 

Hail Mary, full of grace, the Lord is with thee; blessed art thou among women and blessed is the fruit of thy womb, Jesus.
Holy Mary, Mother of God, pray for us sinners, now and at the hour of our death. Amen. 

Behold the handmaid of the Lord: Be it done unto me according to Thy word. 

Hail Mary . . . 

And the Word was made Flesh: And dwelt among us. 

Hail Mary . . . 


Pray for us, O Holy Mother of God, that we may be made worthy of the promises of Christ. 

Let us pray: 

Pour forth, we beseech Thee, O Lord, Thy grace into our hearts; that we, to whom the incarnation of Christ, Thy Son, was made known by the message of an angel, may by His Passion and Cross be brought to the glory of His Resurrection, through the same Christ Our Lord.

Amen. 


23 posted on 12/03/2011 9:26:16 PM PST by Salvation ("With God all things are possible." Matthew 19:26)
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To: Salvation

Dec 04, Invitatory for Sunday of the 2nd week of Advent

Lord, open my lips.
And my mouth will proclaim your praise.

Ant. Come, let us worship the Lord, the King who is to come.

Psalm 95

Come, let us sing to the Lord
and shout with joy to the Rock who saves us.
Let us approach him with praise and thanksgiving
and sing joyful songs to the Lord.

Ant.

The Lord is God, the mighty God,
the great king over all the gods.
He holds in his hands the depths of the earth
and the highest mountains as well
He made the sea; it belongs to him,
the dry land, too, for it was formed by his hands.

Ant.

Come, then, let us bow down and worship,
bending the knee before the Lord, our maker,
For he is our God and we are his people,
the flock he shepherds.

Ant.

Today, listen to the voice of the Lord:
Do not grow stubborn, as your fathers did
in the wilderness,
when at Meriba and Massah
they challenged me and provoked me,
Although they had seen all of my works.

Ant.

Forty years I endured that generation.
I said, “They are a people whose hearts go astray
and they do not know my ways.”
So I swore in my anger,
“They shall not enter into my rest.”

Ant.

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.

Ant. Come, let us worship the Lord, the King who is to come.

24 posted on 12/04/2011 2:39:46 AM PST by markomalley (Nothing emboldens the wicked so greatly as the lack of courage on the part of the good-Pope Leo XIII)
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To: Salvation

Dec 04, Office of Readings for Sunday of the 2nd week of Advent

Ribbon Placement:
Liturgy of the Hours Vol. I:
Ordinary: 649
Propers: 199
Psalter: Sunday, Week II, 798

Christian Prayer:
Does not contain Office of Readings

Office of Readings for the Second Sunday of Advent

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

Long ago, prophets knew
Christ would come, born a Jew,
Come to make all things new,
Bear His people’s burden,
Freely love and pardon.

Refrain

Ring, bells, ring, ring, ring!
Sing, choirs, sing, sing, sing!
When He comes, when He comes,
Who will make Him welcome?

God in time, God in man,
This is God’s timeless plan:
He will come, as a man,
Born Himself of woman,
God divinely human.

Refrain

Mary, hail! Though afraid,
She believed, she obeyed.
In her womb, God is laid
Til the time expected,
Nurtured and protected.

Ring, bells, ring, ring, ring!
Sing, choirs, sing, sing, sing!
Jesus comes, Jesus comes,
We will make Him welcome!

Long ago, prophets knew by Choir of The King’s School; Words: Fred P. Green, 1971; Music: Personent Hodie, Piae Cantiones, 1582; arranged by Gustav T. Holst (1874-1934)

PSALMODY

Ant. 1 This is our heavenly King; he comes with power and might to save the nations, alleluia.

Psalm 104
Hymn to God the Creator

To be in Christ means being a completely new creature. Everything of the old is gone,
now everything is made anew
(2 Corinthians 5:17).

I

Bless the Lord, my soul!
Lord God, how great you are,
clothed in majesty and glory,
wrapped in light as in a robe!

Ant.

You stretch out the heavens like a tent.
Above the rains you build your dwelling.
You make the clouds your chariot,
and walk on the wings of the wind;
you make the winds your messengers
and flashing fire your servants.

Ant.

You founded the earth on its base,
to stand firm from age to age.
You wrapped it with the ocean like a cloak:
the waters stood higher than the mountains.

Ant.

At your threat they took to flight;
at the voice of your thunder they fled.
They rose over the mountains and flowed down
to the place which you had appointed.
You set the limits they might not pass
lest they return to cover the earth.

Ant.

You make springs gush forth in the valleys:
they flow in between the hills.
They give drink to all the beasts of the field;
the wild-asses quench their thirst.
On their banks dwell the birds of heaven;
from the branches they sing their song.

Ant.

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.

Ant. This is our heavenly King; he comes with power and might to save the nations, alleluia.

Ant. 2 Daughter of Jerusalem, rejoice and be glad; your King will come to you. Zion, do not fear; your Savior hastens on his way.

II

From your dwelling you water the hills;
earth drinks its fill of your gift.
You make the grass grow for the cattle
and the plants to serve man’s needs,

that he may bring forth bread from the earth
and wine to cheer man’s heart;
oil, to make him glad
and bread to strengthen man’s heart.

Ant.

The trees of the Lord drink their fill,
the cedars he planted on Lebanon;
there the birds build their nests:
on the tree-top the stork has her home.
The goats find a home on the mountains
and rabbits hide in the rocks.

Ant.

You made the moon to mark the months;
the sun knows the time for its setting.
When you spread the darkness it is night
and all the beasts of the forest creep forth.
The young lions roar for their prey
and ask their food from God.

Ant.

At the rising of the sun they steal away
and go to rest in their dens.
Man goes forth to his work,
to labor till evening falls.

Ant.

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.

Ant. Daughter of Jerusalem, rejoice and be glad; your King will come to you. Zion, do not fear; your Savior hastens on his way.

Ant. 3 Let us cleanse our hearts for the coming of our great King, that we may be ready to welcome him; he is coming and will not delay.

III

How many are your works, O Lord!
In wisdom you have made them all.
The earth is full of your riches.

Ant.

There is the sea, vast and wide,
with its moving swarms past counting,
living things great and small.
The ships are moving there
and the monsters you made to play with.

Ant.

All of these look to you
to give them their food in due season.
You give it, they gather it up:
you open your hand, they have their fill.

Ant.

You hide your face, they are dismayed;
you take back your spirit, they die,
returning to the dust from which they came.
You send forth your spirit, they are created;
and you renew the face of the earth.

Ant.

May the glory of the Lord last forever!
May the Lord rejoice in his works!
He looks on the earth and it trembles;
the mountains send forth smoke at his touch.

Ant.

I will sing to the Lord all my life,
make music to my God while I live.
May my thoughts be pleasing to him.
I find my joy in the Lord.
Let sinners vanish from the earth
and the wicked exist no more.

Ant.

Bless the Lord, my soul.

Ant.

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.

Psalm-prayer

Father, as you made springs in valleys to form streams between mountains, so you made living streams of grace flow from the Apostles that their teaching may bring salvation to all the nations. May we have a practical knowledge of their doctrine, be obedient to their commands, obtain remission of our sins through their prayers, and finally receive the reward of eternal happiness.

Ant. Let us cleanse our hearts for the coming of our great King, that we may be ready to welcome him; he is coming and will not delay.

Sacred Silence (indicated by a bell)
A moment to reflect and receive in our hearts the full resonance of the voice of the Holy Spirit and to unite our personal prayer more closely with the word of God and public voice of the Church.

Lift up your heads and see.
Your redemption is now at hand.

READINGS

First reading
From the book of the prophet Isaiah
22:8b-23
Against the pride of Jerusalem and Shebna

On that day you looked to the weapons in the House of the Forest; you saw that the breaches in the City of David were many; you collected the water of the lower pool. You numbered the houses of Jerusalem, tearing some down to strengthen the wall; you made a reservoir between the two walls for the water of the old pool. But you did not look to the city’s Maker, nor did you consider him who built it long ago.

On that day the Lord,
the God of hosts, called on you
To weep and mourn,
to shave your head and put on sackcloth.

But look! you feast and celebrate,
you slaughter oxen and butcher sheep,
You eat meat and drink wine:
“Eat and drink, for tomorrow we die!”
This reaches the ears of the Lord of hosts–
You shall not be pardoned this wickedness till you die,
says the Lord, the God of hosts.

Thus says the Lord, the God of hosts:
Up, go to that official,
Shebna, master of the palace,
Who has hewn for himself a sepulcher on a height
and carved his tomb in the rock:
“What are you doing here, and what people have you here,
that here you have hewn for yourself a tomb?”
The Lord shall hurl you down headlong, mortal man!
He shall grip you firmly
And roll you up and toss you like a ball
into an open land
To perish there, you and the chariots you glory in,
you disgrace to your master’s house!

I will thrust you from your office
and pull you down from your station.
On that day I will summon my servant
Eliakim, son of Hilkiah;
I will clothe him with your robe,
and gird him with your sash,
and give over to him your authority.
He shall be a father to the inhabitants of Jerusalem,
and to the house of Judah.

I will place the key of the House of David on his shoulder;
when he opens, no one shall shut,
when he shuts, no one shall open.
I will fix him like a peg in a sure spot,
to be a place of honor for his family.

RESPONSORY Revelation 3:7, 8

This is the message of the holy and the true one, who holds the key of David:
Behold I have put before you an open door which no one is able to close.

You have kept my word and have not denied my name.
Behold I have put before you an open door which no one is able to close.

Second reading
From a commentary on Isaiah by Eusebius of Caesarea, bishop
The voice in the wilderness

The voice of one crying in the wilderness: Prepare the way of the Lord, make straight the paths of our God. The prophecy makes clear that it is to be fulfilled, not in Jerusalem but in the wilderness: it is there that the glory of the Lord is to appear, and God’s salvation is to be made known to all mankind.

It was in the wilderness that God’s saving presence was proclaimed by John the Baptist, and there that God’s salvation was seen. The words of this prophecy were fulfilled when Christ and his glory were made manifest to all: after his baptism the heavens opened, and the Holy Spirit in the form of a dove rested on him, and the Father’s voice was heard, bearing witness to the Son: This is my beloved Son, listen to him.

The prophecy meant that God was to come to a deserted place, inaccessible from the beginning. None of the pagans had any knowledge of God, since his holy servants and prophets were kept from approaching them. The voice commands that a way be prepared for the Word of God: the rough and trackless ground is to be made level, so that our God may find a highway when he comes. Prepare the way of the Lord: the way is the preaching of the Gospel, the new message of consolation, ready to bring to all mankind the knowledge of God’s saving power.

Climb on a high mountain, bearer of good news to Zion. Lift up your voice in strength, bearer of good news to Jerusalem. These words harmonize very well with the meaning of what has gone before. They refer opportunely to the evangelists and proclaim the coming of God to men, after speaking of the voice crying in the wilderness. Mention of the evangelists suitably follows the prophecy on John the Baptist.

What does Zion mean if not the city previously called Jerusalem? This is the mountain referred to in that passage from Scripture: Here is mount Zion, where you dwelt. The Apostle says: You have come to mount Zion. Does not this refer to the company of the apostles, chosen from the former people of the circumcision?

This is the Zion, the Jerusalem, that received God’s salvation. It stands aloft on the mountain of God, that is, it is raised high on the only-begotten Word of God. It is commanded to climb the high mountain and announce the word of salvation. Who is the bearer of the good news but the company of the evangelists? What does it mean to bear the good news but to preach to all nations, but first of all to the cities of Judah, the coming of Christ on earth?

RESPONSORY See Matthew 11:11, 9

The herald of the Lord approaches, of whom the Lord says:
No one born of woman is greater than John the Baptist.

Truly this is a great prophet, and more than a prophet, of whom the Lord says:
No one born of woman is greater than John the Baptist.

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 spurn 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.

Save your people, Lord, and bless your inheritance.
Govern and uphold them now and always.

Day by day we bless you.
We praise your name for ever.

Keep us today, Lord, from all sin.
Have mercy on us, Lord, have mercy.

Lord, show us your love and mercy,
for we have put our trust in you.

In you, Lord, is our hope:
And we shall never hope in vain.

CONCLUDING PRAYER

Almighty and merciful God,
may no earthly undertaking hinder those
who set out in haste to meet your Son,
but may our learning of heavenly wisdom
gain us admittance to his company,
Who lives and reigns with you in the unity of the Holy Spirit,
one God, for ever and ever.
Amen.

ACCLAMATION (only added when praying in community)

Let us praise the Lord.
And give him thanks.

25 posted on 12/04/2011 2:39:46 AM PST by markomalley (Nothing emboldens the wicked so greatly as the lack of courage on the part of the good-Pope Leo XIII)
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To: Salvation

Dec 04, Morning Prayer for Sunday of the 2nd week of Advent

Ribbon Placement:
Liturgy of the Hours Vol. I:
Ordinary: 653
Proper of Seasons: 203
Psalter: Sunday, Week II, 802

Christian Prayer:
Ordinary: 689
Proper of Seasons: 66
Psalter: Sunday, Week II, 780

Morning Prayer for the Second Sunday of Advent

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

Come, thou long-expected Jesus,
born to set thy people free;
from our fears and sins release us,
let us find our rest in thee.

Israel’s strength and consolation,
hope of all the earth thou art:
dear desire of every nation,
joy of every longing heart.

Born thy people to deliver,
born a child, and yet a king,
born to reign in us for ever,
now thy gracious kingdom bring.

By thine own eternal Spirit
rule in all our hearts alone;
by thine all-sufficient merit
raise us to thy glorious throne.

Come, thou long-expected Jesus by St Michael’s Singers; Text: Charles Wesley, 1707-1788; Melody: Stuttgart 87-88; Music: adapted from C.F. Witt, 1660-1716;

PSALMODY

Ant. 1 Zion is our mighty citadel, our saving Lord its wall and its defense; throw open the gates, for our God is here among us, alleluia.

Psalm 118
Song of joy for salvation

This Jesus is the stone which, rejected by you builders, has become the chief stone supporting all the rest (Acts 4:11).

Give thanks to the Lord for he is good,
for his love endures for ever.

Ant.

Let the sons of Israel say:
“His love endures for ever.”
Let the sons of Aaron say:
“His love endures for ever.”
Let those who fear the Lord say:
“His love endures for ever.”

Ant.

I called to the Lord in my distress;
he answered and freed me.
The Lord is at my side; I do not fear.
What can man do against me?
The Lord is at my side as my helper:
I shall look down on my foes.

Ant.

It is better to take refuge in the Lord
than to trust in men:
it is better to take refuge in the Lord
than to trust in princes.

Ant.

The nations all encompassed me;
in the Lord’s name I crushed them.
They compassed me, compassed me about;
in the Lord’s name I crushed them.
They compassed me about like bees;
they blazed like a fire among thorns.
In the Lord’s name I crushed them.

Ant.

I was hard-pressed and was falling
but the Lord came to help me.
The Lord is my strength and my song;
he is my savior.
There are shouts of joy and victory
in the tents of the just.

Ant.

The Lord’s right hand has triumphed;
his right hand raised me up.
The Lord’s right hand has triumphed;
I shall not die, I shall live
and recount his deeds.
I was punished, I was punished by the Lord,
but not doomed to die.

Ant.

Open to me the gates of holiness:
I will enter and give thanks.
This is the Lord’s own gate
where the just may enter.
I will thank you for you have answered
and you are my savior.

Ant.

The stone which the builders rejected
has become the corner stone.
This is the work of the Lord,
a marvel in our eyes.
This day was made by the Lord;
we rejoice and are glad.

Ant.

O Lord, grant us salvation;
O Lord, grant success.
Blessed in the name of the Lord
is he who comes.
We bless you from the house of the Lord;
the Lord God is our light.

Ant.

Go forward in procession with branches
even to the altar.
You are my God, I thank you.
My God, I praise you.
Give thanks to the Lord for he is good;
for his love endures for ever.

Ant.

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.

Psalm-prayer

Lord God, you have given us the great day of rejoicing: Jesus Christ, the stone rejected by the builders, has become the cornerstone of the Church, our spiritual home. Shed upon your Church the rays of your glory, that it may be seen as the gate of salvation open to all nations. Let cries of joy and exultation ring out from its tents, to celebrate the wonder of Christ’s resurrection.

Ant. Zion is our mighty citadel, our saving Lord its wall and its defense; throw open the gates, for our God is here among us, alleluia.

Ant. 2 Come to the waters, all you who thirst; seek the Lord while he can be found, alleluia.

Canticle — Daniel 3:52-57
Let all creatures praise the Lord

The Creator . . . is blessed for ever (Romans 1:25).

Blessed are you, O Lord, the God of our fathers,
praiseworthy and exalted above all forever.

Ant.

And blessed is your holy and glorious name,
praiseworthy and exalted above all for all ages.

Ant.

Blessed are you in the temple of your holy glory,
praiseworthy and glorious above all forever.

Ant.

Blessed are you on the throne of your kingdom,
praiseworthy and exalted above all forever.

Ant.

Blessed are you who look into the depths
from your throne upon the cherubim,
praiseworthy and exalted above all forever.

Ant.

Blessed are you in the firmament of heaven,
praiseworthy and glorious forever.

Ant.

Bless the Lord, all you works of the Lord,
praise and exalt him above all forever.

Ant.

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.

Ant. Come to the waters, all you who thirst; seek the Lord while he can be found, alleluia.

Ant. 3 Our God will come with great power to enlighten the eyes of his servants, alleluia.

Psalm 150
Praise the Lord

Let mind and heart be in your song: this is to glorify God with your whole self (Hesychius).

Praise God in his holy place,
praise him in his mighty heavens.
Praise him for his powerful deeds,
praise his surpassing greatness.

Ant.

O praise him with sound of trumpet,
praise him with lute and harp.
Praise him with timbrel and dance,
praise him with strings and pipes.

Ant.

O praise him with resounding cymbals,
praise him with clashing of cymbals.
Let everything that lives and that breathes
give praise to the Lord.

Ant.

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.

Psalm-prayer

Lord God, maker of heaven and earth and of all created things, you make your just ones holy and you justify sinners who confess your name. Hear us as we humbly pray to you: give us eternal joy with your saints.

Ant. Our God will come with great power to enlighten the eyes of his servants, alleluia.

READING Romans 13:11-12

It is now the hour for you to wake from sleep, for our salvation is closer than when we first accepted the faith. The night is far spent; the day draws near. Let us cast off deeds of darkness and put on the armor of light.
The audio for this hour uses a longer reading taken from the single volume Christian Prayer, while this abbreviated text is from the 4 volume Liturgy of the Hours.

Sacred Silence (indicated by a bell)
A moment to reflect and receive in our hearts the full resonance of the voice of the Holy Spirit and to unite our personal prayer more closely with the word of God and public voice of the Church.

RESPONSORY

Christ, Son of the living God, have mercy on us.
Christ, Son of the living God, have mercy on us.

You are the one who is to come,
have mercy on us.

Glory to the Father, and to the Son, and to the Holy Spirit,
Christ, Son of the living God, have mercy on us.

CANTICLE OF ZECHARIAH

Ant. I am sending my angel before me to prepare the way for my coming.

Luke 1:68-79
The Messiah and his forerunner

Blessed be the Lord, the God of Israel;
he has come to his people and set them free.

He has raised up for us a mighty savior,
born of the house of his servant David.

Through his holy prophets he promised of old
that he would save us from our enemies,
from the hands of all who hate us.

He promised to show mercy to our fathers
and to remember his holy covenant.

This was the oath he swore to our father Abraham:
to set us free from the hands of our enemies,
free to worship him without fear,
holy and righteous in his sight
all the days of our life.

You, my child, shall be called the prophet of the Most High;
for you will go before the Lord to prepare his way,
to give his people knowledge of salvation
by the forgiveness of their sins.

In the tender compassion of our God
the dawn from on high shall break upon us,
to shine on those who dwell in darkness and the shadow of death,
and to guide our feet into the way of peace.

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.

Ant. I am sending my angel before me to prepare the way for my coming.

INTERCESSIONS

To the Lord Jesus Christ, judge of the living and the dead, let us pray:
Come, Lord Jesus!

Lord Jesus, you came to save sinners,
protect us in times of temptation.
Come, Lord Jesus!

You will come in glory to be our judge,
show in us your power to save.
Come, Lord Jesus!

Help us to keep the precepts of your law with the strength of the Spirit,
and to look forward in love to your coming.
Come, Lord Jesus!

You are praised throughout the ages; in your mercy help us to live devoutly and temperately in this life,
as we wait in joyful hope for the revelation of your glory.
Come, Lord Jesus!

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.

Concluding Prayer

Almighty and merciful God,
may no earthly undertaking hinder those
who set out in haste to meet your Son,
but may our learning of heavenly wisdom
gain us admittance to his company,
Who lives and reigns with you in the unity of the Holy Spirit,
one God, for ever and ever.
Amen.

DISMISSAL

May the Lord bless us,
protect us from all evil and bring us to everlasting life.
Amen.

26 posted on 12/04/2011 2:39:56 AM PST by markomalley (Nothing emboldens the wicked so greatly as the lack of courage on the part of the good-Pope Leo XIII)
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To: Salvation

Dec 04, Midday Prayer for Sunday of the 2nd week of Advent

Ribbon Placement:
Liturgy of the Hours Vol. I:
Ordinary: 658
Propers: 206
Psalter: Sunday, Week II, 808

Midday Prayer (Sext) for Sunday in Advent, using Current Psalmody
*Sext, or Sixth Hour, is known as Midday Prayer in modern times and is typically said at noon, which is the sixth hour of the day after dawn.

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

PSALMODY

Ant. The angel Gabriel said to Mary in greeting: Hail, full of grace, the Lord is with you; blessed are you among women.

Psalm 23
The Good Shepherd

The Lamb himself will be their shepherd and will lead them to the springs of living waters (Revelation 7:17).

The Lord is my shepherd;
there is nothing I shall want.
Fresh and green are the pastures
where he gives me repose.
Near restful waters he leads me,
to revive my drooping spirit.

He guides me along the right path;
he is true to his name.
If I should walk in the valley of darkness
no evil would I fear.
You are there with your crook and your staff;
with these you give me comfort.

You have prepared a banquet for me
in the sight of my foes.
My head you have anointed with oil;
my cup is overflowing.

Surely goodness and kindness shall follow me
all the days of my life.
In the Lord’s own house shall I dwell
for ever and ever.

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.

Psalm-prayer

Lord Jesus Christ, shepherd of your Church, you give us new birth in the waters of baptism, anoint us with saving oil, and call us to salvation at your table. Dispel the terrors of death and the darkness of error. Lead your people along safe paths, that they may rest securely in you and live for ever in your Father’s house.

Psalm 76
Thanksgiving for victory

They will see the Son of Man coming on the clouds of heaven (Matthew 24:30).

I

God is made known in Judah;
in Israel his name is great.
He set up his tent in Jerusalem
and his dwelling place in Zion.
It was there he broke the flashing arrows,
the shield, the sword, the armor.

You, O Lord, are resplendent,
more majestic than the everlasting mountains.
The warriors, despoiled, slept in death;
the hands of the soldiers were powerless.
At your threat, O God of Jacob,
horse and rider lay stunned.

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.

II

You, you alone, strike terror.
Who shall stand when your anger is roused?
You uttered your sentence from the heavens;
the earth in terror was still
when God arose to judge,
to save the humble of the earth.

Men’s anger will serve to praise you;
its survivors surround you in joy.
Make vows to your God and fulfill them.
Let all pay tribute to him who strikes terror,
who cuts short the life of princes,
who strikes terror in the kings of the earth.

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.

Psalm-prayer

Your power is awesome, Father, and wonderful is your holiness. In your presence the earth both trembles and stands still, for you shattered death’s power by the cross. Rise to help your people: give your light, and grant salvation to the meek of the earth, that they may praise your name in heaven.

Ant. The angel Gabriel said to Mary in greeting: Hail, full of grace, the Lord is with you; blessed are you among women.

READING 1 Thessalonians 3:12-13

May the Lord make you overflow with love for one another and for all, even as our love does for you. May he strengthen your hearts, making them blameless and holy before our God and Father at the coming of our Lord Jesus with all his holy ones.

Sacred Silence (indicated by a bell)
A moment to reflect and receive in our hearts the full resonance of the voice of the Holy Spirit and to unite our personal prayer more closely with the word of God and public voice of the Church.

Remember us, Lord, because of the love you have for your people.
Come and bring us your salvation.

CONCLUDING PRAYER

God of power and mercy,
open our hearts in welcome.
Remove the things that hinder us
from receiving Christ with joy,
so that we may share his wisdom
and become one with him
when he comes in glory,
for he lives and reigns with you and the Holy Spirit,
one God, for ever and ever.
Amen.

ACCLAMATION

Let us praise the Lord.
And give him thanks.

27 posted on 12/04/2011 2:39:56 AM PST by markomalley (Nothing emboldens the wicked so greatly as the lack of courage on the part of the good-Pope Leo XIII)
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To: Salvation

Dec 04, Evening Prayer for Sunday of the 2nd week of Advent

Ribbon Placement:
Liturgy of the Hours Vol. 1:
Ordinary: 667
Proper of Seasons: 207
Psalter: Sunday, Week II, 811

Christian Prayer:
Ordinary: 694
Proper of Seasons: 68
Psalter: Sunday, Week II, 786

Evening Prayer II for the Second Sunday of Advent

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

O come, O come, Emmanuel
And ransom captive Israel
That mourns in lonely exile here
Until the Son of God appear
Rejoice! Rejoice! Emmanuel
Shall come to thee, O Israel.

O come, Thou Rod of Jesse, free
Thine own from Satan’s tyranny
From depths of Hell Thy people save
And give them victory o’er the grave
Rejoice! Rejoice! Emmanuel
Shall come to thee, O Israel.

O come, Thou Day-Spring, come and cheer
Our spirits by Thine advent here
Disperse the gloomy clouds of night
And death’s dark shadows put to flight.
Rejoice! Rejoice! Emmanuel
Shall come to thee, O Israel.

O come, Thou Key of David, come,
And open wide our heavenly home;
Make safe the way that leads on high,
And close the path to misery.
Rejoice! Rejoice! Emmanuel
Shall come to thee, O Israel.

O come, O come, Thou Lord of might,
Who to Thy tribes, on Sinai’s height,
In ancient times did’st give the Law,
In cloud, and majesty and awe.
Rejoice! Rejoice! Emmanuel
Shall come to thee, O Israel.

Melody: Veni, Veni Emmanual, Music: Thomas Helmore, 1811-1890, Text: Veni, Veni Emmanual a paraphrase of the Latin 12th-13th century “Great O Antiphons” in Psalteriolum Cantionum Catholicarum, 1770, Translator: J. M. Neale, 1818-1886, et alt.; Performance: The Choir of the Cathedral of the Madeleine in Salt Lake City, Utah, USA.

PSALMODY

Ant. 1 The Lord will come on the clouds of heaven with great power and might, alleluia.

Psalm 110
The Messiah, king and priest

Christ’s reign will last until all his enemies are made subject to him (1 Corinthians 15:25).

The Lord’s revelation to my Master:
“Sit on my right:
your foes I will put beneath your feet.”

Ant.

The Lord will wield from Zion
your scepter of power:
rule in the midst of all your foes.

Ant.

A prince from the day of your birth
on the holy mountains;
from the womb before the dawn I begot you.

Ant.

The Lord has sworn an oath he will not change.
“You are a priest for ever,
a priest like Melchizedek of old.”

Ant.

The Master standing at your right hand
will shatter kings in the day of his great wrath.

Ant.

He shall drink from the stream by the wayside
and therefore he shall lift up his head.

Ant.

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.

Psalm-prayer

Almighty God, bring the kingdom of Christ, your anointed one, to its fullness. May the perfect offering of your Son, eternal priest of the new Jerusalem, be offered in every place to your name and make all nations a holy people for you.

Ant. The Lord will come on the clouds of heaven with great power and might, alleluia.

Ant. 2 The Lord will come; he is true to his word. If he seems to delay, keep watch for him, for he will surely come, alleluia.

Psalm 115
Praise of the true God

You have renounced idol worship to serve the living and true God (1 Thessalonians 1:9).

Not to us, Lord, not to us,
but to your name give the glory
for the sake of your love and your truth,
lest the heathen say: “Where is their God?”

Ant.

But our God is in the heavens;
he does whatever he wills.
Their idols are silver and gold,
the work of human hands.

Ant.

They have mouths but they cannot speak;
they have eyes but they cannot see;
they have ears but they cannot hear;
they have nostrils but they cannot smell.

Ant.

With their hands they cannot feel;
with their feet they cannot walk.
No sound comes from their throats.
Their makers will come to be like them
and so will all who trust in them.

Ant.

Sons of Israel, trust in the Lord;
he is their help and their shield.
Sons of Aaron, trust in the Lord;
he is their help and their shield.

Ant.

You who fear him, trust in the Lord;
he is their help and their shield.
He remembers us, and he will bless us;
he will bless the sons of Israel.
He will bless the sons of Aaron.

Ant.

The Lord will bless those who fear him,
the little no less than the great:
to you may the Lord grant increase,
to you and all your children.

Ant.

May you be blessed by the Lord,
the maker of heaven and earth.
The heavens belong to the Lord
but the earth he has given to men.

Ant.

The dead shall not praise the Lord,
nor those who go down into the silence.
But we who live bless the Lord
now and for ever. Amen.

Ant.

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.

Psalm-prayer

Father, creator and ruler of heaven and earth, you made man in your likeness to subdue the earth and master it, and to recognize the work of your hands in created beauty. Grant that your children, thus surrounded on all sides by signs of your presence, may live continually in Christ, praising you through him and with him.

Ant. The Lord will come; he is true to his word. If he seems to delay, keep watch for him, for he will surely come, alleluia.

Ant. 3 The Lord our king and lawgiver will come to save us.

Canticle – See Revelation 19:1-7
The wedding of the lamb

Alleluia.
Salvation, glory, and power to our God:
Alleluia.
his judgments are honest and true.
Alleluia, alleluia.

Ant.

Alleluia.
Sing praise to our God, all you his servants,
Alleluia.
all who worship him reverently, great and small.
Alleluia, alleluia.

Ant.

Alleluia.
The Lord our all-powerful God is King;
Alleluia.
Let us rejoice, sing praise, and give him glory.
Alleluia, alleluia.

Ant.

Alleluia.
The wedding feast of the Lamb has begun,
Alleluia.
and his bride is prepared to welcome him.
Alleluia, alleluia.

Ant.

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.

Ant. The Lord our king and lawgiver will come to save us.

READING Philippians 4:4-7

Rejoice in the Lord always! I say it again. Rejoice! Everyone should see how unselfish you are. The Lord is near.
The audio for this hour uses a longer reading taken from the single volume Christian Prayer, while this abbreviated text is from the 4 volume Liturgy of the Hours.

Sacred Silence (indicated by a bell)
A moment to reflect and receive in our hearts the full resonance of the voice of the Holy Spirit and to unite our personal prayer more closely with the word of God and public voice of the Church.

RESPONSORY

Lord, show us your mercy and love.
Lord, show us your mercy and love.

And grant us your salvation,
your mercy and love.

Glory to the Father, and to the Son, and to the Holy Spirit,
Lord, show us your mercy and love.

CANTICLE OF MARY

Ant. Blessed are you, O Virgin Mary, for your great faith; all that the Lord promised you will come to pass through you, alleluia.

Luke 1:46-55
The soul rejoices in the Lord

My soul proclaims the greatness of the Lord,
my spirit rejoices in God my Savior
for he has looked with favor on his lowly servant.

From this day all generations will call me blessed:
the Almighty has done great things for me,
and holy is his Name.

He has mercy on those who fear him
in every generation.

He has shown the strength of his arm,
he has scattered the proud in their conceit.

He has cast down the mighty from their thrones,
and has lifted up the lowly.

He has filled the hungry with good things,
and the rich he has sent away empty.

He has come to the help of his servant Israel
for he has remembered his promise of mercy,
the promise he made to our fathers,
to Abraham and his children for ever.

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.

Ant. Blessed are you, O Virgin Mary, for your great faith; all that the Lord promised you will come to pass through you, alleluia.

INTERCESSIONS

To Christ the Lord, who was born of the Virgin Mary, let us pray with joyful hearts:
Come, Lord Jesus!

Lord Jesus, in the mystery of your incarnation, you revealed your glory to the world,
give us new life by your coming.
Come, Lord Jesus!

You have taken our weakness upon yourself,
grant us your mercy.
Come, Lord Jesus!

You redeemed the world from sin by your first coming in humility,
free us from all guilt when you come again in glory.
Come, Lord Jesus!

You live and rule over all,
in your goodness bring us to our eternal inheritance.
Come, Lord Jesus!

You sit at the right hand of the father,
gladden the souls of the dead with your light.
Come, Lord Jesus!

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.

Concluding Prayer

Almighty and merciful God,
may no earthly undertaking hinder those
who set out in haste to meet your Son,
but may our learning of heavenly wisdom
gain us admittance to his company,
Who lives and reigns with you in the unity of the Holy Spirit,
one God, for ever and ever.
Amen.

DISMISSAL

May the Lord bless us,
protect us from all evil and bring us to everlasting life.
Amen.

28 posted on 12/04/2011 2:40:05 AM PST by markomalley (Nothing emboldens the wicked so greatly as the lack of courage on the part of the good-Pope Leo XIII)
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To: Salvation

Dec 04, Night Prayer for Sunday of the 2nd week of Advent

Ribbon Placement:
Liturgy of the Hours:
Vol I, page 1172
Vol II, Page 1628
Vol III, Page 1272
Vol IV, Page 1236

Christian Prayer:
Page 1037

Night Prayer after Evening Prayer II on Sundays and Solemnities

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.

Examination of conscience:

We are called to have a clear conscience toward God and toward men, in our hearts and in our minds, in our actions and inactions. To do so, it is vital that we examine our conscience daily and to ask for God’s mercy as we fall short and to ask for His strength to do better.

Kýrie, eléison
Kýrie, eléison

Christé, eléison
Christé, eléison

Kýrie, eléison
Kýrie, eléison

HYMN

O radiant Light, O Son divine
Of God the Father’s deathless face
O image of the light sublime
That fills the heavenly dwelling-place

Lord Jesus Christ, as daylight fades
As shine the lights of eventide
We praise the Father with the Son
The spirit blest and with them one.

O Son of God, the source of life
Praise is your due by night and day
Unsullied lips must raise the strain
Of your proclaimed and splendid name.

O Radiant Light by Choir of The Cathedral of the Madeleine & The Madeleine Choir School; Lyrics copyright 1973, Fides Publishers, Inc. Notre Dame, Indiana from “Morning Praise and Evensong”. Used by permission of the publisher for non-profit or devotional purposes.

PSALMODY

Ant. 1 Night holds no terrors for me sleeping under God’s wings.

Psalm 91
Safe in God’s sheltering care

I have given you the power to tread upon serpents and scorpions (Luke 10:19).

He who dwells in the shelter of the Most High
and abides in the shade of the Almighty
says to the Lord: “My refuge,
my stronghold, my God in whom I trust!”

It is he who will free you from the snare
of the fowler who seeks to destroy you;
he will conceal you with his pinions
and under his wings you will find refuge.

You will not fear the terror of the night
nor the arrow that flies by day,
nor the plague that prowls in the darkness
nor the scourge that lays waste at noon.

A thousand may fall at your side,
ten thousand fall at your right,
you, it will never approach;
his faithfulness is buckler and shield.

Your eyes have only to look
to see how the wicked are repaid,
you who have said: “Lord, my refuge!”
and have made the Most High your dwelling.

Upon you no evil shall fall,
no plague approach where you dwell.
For you has he commanded his angels,
to keep you in all your ways.

They shall bear you upon their hands
lest you strike your foot against a stone.
On the lion and the viper you will tread
and trample the young lion and the dragon.

Since he clings to me in love, I will free him;
protect him for he knows my name.
When he calls I shall answer: “I am with you,”
I will save him in distress and give him glory.

With length of life I will content him;
I shall let him see my saving power.

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.

Ant. Night holds no terrors for me sleeping under God’s wings.

READING Revelation 22:4-5

They shall see the Lord face to face and bear his name on their foreheads. The night shall be no more. They will need no light from lamps or the sun, for the Lord God shall give them light, and they shall reign forever.

RESPONSORY

Into your hands, Lord, I commend my spirit.
Into your hands, Lord, I commend my spirit.

You have redeemed us, Lord God of truth.
I commend my spirit.

Glory to the Father, and to the Son, and to the Holy Spirit,
Into your hands, Lord, I commend my spirit.

GOSPEL CANTICLE

Ant. Protect us, Lord, as we stay awake; watch over us as we sleep, that awake, we may keep watch with Christ, and asleep, rest in his peace.

Luke 2:29-32
Christ is the light of the nations and the glory of Israel

Lord, now you let your servant go in peace;
your word has been fulfilled:

my own eyes have seen the salvation
which you have prepared in the sight of every people:

a light to reveal you to the nations
and the glory of your people Israel.

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.

Ant. Protect us, Lord, as we stay awake; watch over us as we sleep, that awake, we may keep watch with Christ, and asleep, rest in his peace.

Concluding Prayer

Lord,
we have celebrated today
the mystery of the rising of Christ to new life.
May we now rest in your peace,
safe from all that could harm us,
and rise again refreshed and joyful,
to praise you throughout another day.
We ask this through Christ our Lord.
Amen.

Blessing

May the all-powerful Lord grant us a restful night and a peaceful death.
Amen.

Antiphon or song in honor of the Blessed Virgin Mary

29 posted on 12/04/2011 2:40:34 AM PST by markomalley (Nothing emboldens the wicked so greatly as the lack of courage on the part of the good-Pope Leo XIII)
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To: All
Saint John of Damascus, Priest, Religious, Doctor of the Church

Saint John of Damascus,
Priest, Religious, Doctor of the Church
Optional Memorial
December 4th

 

Born in Damascus (675-749), he served for a time as finance misnister to the caliph before his ordination in 726. He then dedicated himself to study and writing, producing both works of dogmatic theology as well as many hymns. One of the principal defenders of the use of images in religious worship, he is considered the last Eastern Father of the Church.

Source: Daily Roman Missal, Edited by Rev. James Socías, Midwest Theological Forum, Chicago, Illinois ©2003

 

Collect:
Grant, we pray, O Lord,
that we may be helped by the prayers
of the Priest Saint John Damascene,
so that the true faith,
which he excelled in teaching,
may always be our light and our strength.
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. +Amen

First Reading: II Timothy 1:13-14;2:1-3
Follow the pattern of the sound words which you have heard from me[Paul], in the faith and love which are in Christ Jesus; guard the truth that has been entrusted to you by the Holy Spirit who dwells within us.

You then, my son, be strong in the grace that is in Christ Jesus, and what you have heard from me before many witnesses entrust to faithful men who will be able to teach others also. Share in suffering as a good soldier of Christ Jesus.


Gospel Reading: Matthew 25:14-30 [Short reading: Matthew 25:14-23]
"For it {the Kingdom of God} will be as when a man going on a journey called his servants and entrusted to them his property; to one he gave five talents, to another two, to another one, to each according to his ability. Then he went away. He who had received the five talents went at once and traded with them; and he made five talents more. So also, he who had the two talents made two talents more. But he who had received the one talent went and dug in the ground and hid his master's money. Now after a long time the master of those servants came and settled accounts with them. And he who had received the five talents came forward, bringing five talents more, saying, 'Master, you delivered to me five talents; here I have made five talents more.' His master said to him, 'Well done, good and faithful servant; you have been faithful over a little, I will set you over much; enter into the joy of your master.' And he also who had the two talents came forward, saying, 'Master, you delivered to me two talents; here I have made two talents more.' His master said to him, 'Well done, good and faithful servant; you have been faithful over a little, I will set you over much; enter into the joy of your master.' [He also who had received the one talent came forward, saying, 'Master, I knew you to be a hard man, reaping where you did not sow, and gathering where you did not winnow; so I was afraid, and I went and hid your talent in the ground. Here you have what is yours.' But his master answered him, 'You wicked and slothful servant! You knew that I reap where I have not sowed, and gather where I have not winnowed? Then you ought to have invested my money with the bankers, and at my coming I should have received what was my own with interest. So take the talent from him, and give it to him who has the ten talents. For to every one who has will more be given, and he will have abundance; but from him who has not, even what he has will be taken away. And cast the worthless servant into the outer darkness; there men will weep and gnash their teeth."]


Related Link on the Vatican Website:

BENEDICT XVI, GENERAL AUDIENCE, Saint Peter's Square, Wednesday, May 6, 2009, St. John Damascus

Related Links on the New Advent Website:

St. John of Damascus

- Exposition of the Faith


30 posted on 12/04/2011 8:22:34 AM PST by Salvation ("With God all things are possible." Matthew 19:26)
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To: All
On St. John Damascene
On St. John Damascene (Pope Benedict XVI, General Audience, 6 May 2009)
The Traditional Feast Day of St. John Damascene, Doctor of the Church (Catholic/Orthodox Caucus)
St. John of Damascus’s Critique of Islam
Orthodox Feast of +John the Righteous of Damascus, Dec. 4
Saint John Damascene[AKA John of Damascus]
St. John of Damascus
31 posted on 12/04/2011 8:24:05 AM PST by Salvation ("With God all things are possible." Matthew 19:26)
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To: All


Information:
St. John Damascus
Feast Day: December 4
Born: 676, Damascus
Died: December 4, 749, Mar Saba, Jerusalem



32 posted on 12/04/2011 8:30:31 AM PST by Salvation ("With God all things are possible." Matthew 19:26)
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To: All


Information:
St. Barbara
Feast Day: December 4
Patron of: Artillery gunners, masons, mathematicians, miners, military engineers, stonecutters, against lightning, anyone who works at risk of sudden and violent death


33 posted on 12/04/2011 8:32:10 AM PST by Salvation ("With God all things are possible." Matthew 19:26)
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To: All
Interactive Saints for Kids

St. John Damascene

St. John Damascene
Feast Day: December 04
Born:676 :: Died:749

St. John was born in the city of Damascus of a good Christian family. His father Mansur was the representative of the Christians in the court of the Muslim caliph.

When his father died, he became the governor of Damascus. At this time, the emperor made a law which forbade Christians from having statues or pictures of Our Lord and the saints.

St. John Damascene knew the emperor was wrong and joined with many others to defend this tradition. The pope himself asked John to let people know that it was a good thing to have statues and holy pictures. They make us think of Our Lord, the Blessed Mother and the saints.

But the emperor would not give in to the Holy Father. He continued to forbid statues to be put in public places. St. John bravely wrote three letters. He told the emperor to give up his wrong ideas.

The emperor became so angry that he wanted revenge. So he wrote a fake letter from John, which said that John had betrayed the caliph. The caliph was hurt when he read the letter and ordered John's hand that wrote the letter to be chopped off. But Mother Mary appeared and John's cut hand was healed by a miracle.

The caliph then realized that John was telling the truth and asked John to forgive him. But John decided he should resign as governor. He gave away all his money to the poor and became a monk.

He kept writing marvelous books to defend the Catholic religion. At the same time he did all kinds of humble work in the monastery. One day he even went to sell baskets in the streets of Damascus.

People who had known him before made fun of him. The man who had once been the great governor of the city was now selling baskets. Imagine how St. John must have suffered.

But he knew that the money he got from selling baskets would be useful at the monastery. He thought of Jesus, the Son of God, who wanted to be born in a stable and he felt happy to be humble like Jesus.

St. John died a peaceful, happy death in the year 749.


34 posted on 12/04/2011 8:35:30 AM PST by Salvation ("With God all things are possible." Matthew 19:26)
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To: Salvation
Catholic
Almanac:

Sunday, December 4

Liturgical Color: Violet


The Church honors St. John of Damascus, priest and Doctor of the Church. Around 730 A.D., St. John’s hand was severed at the wrist because of his opposition to the Iconoclast Heresy, but the hand was miraculously restored.


35 posted on 12/04/2011 2:42:01 PM PST by Salvation ("With God all things are possible." Matthew 19:26)
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To: Salvation
Catholic Culture

Daily Readings for: December 04, 2011
(Readings on USCCB website)

Collect: Almighty and merciful God, may no earthly undertaking hinder those who set out in haste to meet your Son, but may our learning of heavenly wisdom gain us admittance to his company. Who lives and reigns with you in the unity of the Holy Spirit, one God, for ever and ever.

Advent: December 4th

  Second Sunday of Advent Old Calendar: Second Sunday of Advent

“As the journey of Advent continues, as we prepare to celebrate the nativity of Christ, John the Baptist's call to conversion sounds out in our communities. It is a pressing invitation to open our hearts and to welcome the Son of God Who comes among us to make divine judgement manifest. The Father, writes St. John the Evangelist, does not judge anyone, but has entrusted the power of judgement to the Son, because He is the Son of man.

“And it is today, in the present, that we decide our future destiny. It is with our concrete everyday behavior in this life that we determine our eternal fate. At the end of our days on earth, at the moment of death, we will be evaluated on the basis of our likeness or otherwise to the Baby Who is about to be born in the poor grotto of Bethlehem, because He is the measure God has given humanity.

“Through the Gospel John the Baptist continues to speak down the centuries to each generation. His hard clear words bring health to us, the men and women of this day in which even the experience and perception of Christmas often, unfortunately, reflects materialist attitudes. The 'voice' of the great prophet asks us to prepare the way for the coming Lord in the deserts of today, internal and external deserts, thirsting for the water of life which is Christ.” — Benedict XVI

Click here for commentary on the readings in the Extraordinary Form of the Roman Rite.

Jesse Tree ~ Joseph



Jerusalem
In Palestine Christians gather today in Jerusalem for the celebration of holy Mass. In Rome they proceed to the stational church "Holy Cross at Jerusalem" which serves to give the atmosphere of the Holy City.

Why "Jerusalem"? Excavations of ancient sites often reveal a number of strata. When enemies destroyed a city, a new one would rise on the same location, so that today there are several layers of remains, one city, as it were, above the other. Our Jerusalem likewise has four strata. The bottommost layer is the Jerusalem of the Jews, that venerable land where the Lord Jesus began His mission of redemption, where He suffered and died. This is the historical Jerusalem so dear to us Christians. Anyone making a pilgrimage to the Holy Land enters that ancient city with holy awe. That Jerusalem, however, lies buried deep.

For us another has been built upon it, the Jerusalem of Christians, God's kingdom on earth, the holy Church. This city still stands; it is the one which the divine King will enter at Christmas. Now we understand why we will hear so mach about Jerusalem during the coming week. We should now clean and adorn our city, improving its streets and avenues through which the Savior will make His entrance. As a motto we should take the words of the precursor, St. John the Baptist: "Prepare the way of the Lord, make straight His paths; let every valley be filled, every hill be leveled." Holy Mother Church's message today is that the Savior is coming to the Jerusalem of the Christians, to the Church.

Above the second stratum there arises a third, the heavenly Jerusalem at the end of time. Already now the Church sings of this Jerusalem. For during Advent we await the Savior who will appear on the Last Day to take all into "the new Jerusalem coming down from heaven."

Finally, there may be recognized a fourth Jerusalem, our souls in sanctifying grace. This city too must be adorned and prepared, for the King will want to enter. That is our present task.

On Epiphany, the climax to the current season, the Church will cry out: "Arise, shine, O Jerusalem, for the glory of the Lord has risen upon thee." That is the goal. Today we must prepare for the great King's visit to our city. The whole coming week must be devoted to it. The Church prays: "Awaken our hearts to prepare the way for Your only-begotten Son that we may serve Him with purified hearts."

In the time of the Roman Empire, rulers rode from city to city for the purpose of official visitations. Their appearance, called epiphany or parousia, was a great event, one preceded by months of preparation. Something analogous takes place in the Jerusalem of our souls. From a high watchtower we see the Lord coming afar off. Suddenly John the Baptist appears; he hurries into the city to announce the King's approach. God condescends to manifest Himself to us in grace; but He demands the proper reception.

Excerpted from The Church's Year of Grace by Pius Parsch


36 posted on 12/04/2011 4:59:37 PM PST by Salvation ("With God all things are possible." Matthew 19:26)
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To: All
Doctors of the Catholic Church





Saint John Damascene is the Icon and Image Doctor. He is most famous as one who defended and favored the veneration of sacred images, holy pictures, statues and icons. His writings in the Eastern Church are what the Summa of St Thomas Aquinas are to the West.

John guarded the Church's faith and traditions zealously. His dedicated life of prayer afforded him to put his literary and preaching talents at the service of God. He was a recipent of many miracles. Praying changed everything into beauty for him.

St Damascene spent all his life under Moslem rule and, like all the doctors, had an extraordinary devotion to the Mother of God. It was reported that John received a total healing from a wound inflicted on him through the intercession of St. Mary.

The Pope, in defining the dogma of the Assumption of the Blessed Virgin Mary, called St. John Damascene “the interpreter of this tradition par excellence”. He quoted St. John below. This is taken from Father Renger’s book. (noted elsewhere)

There was need of her who in childbirth had preserved intact, be preserved incorrupt after death. There was need that she who had carried her Creator as a babe on her bosom, would linger lovingly in the dwelling of her God. There was need that the bride whom the Father had betrothed to Himself should live in the bridal chamber in heaven, that she who had looked so closely upon her own Son on the Cross, and who there felt in her heart the sword-pangs of sorrow which in bearing Him she had been spared, should look upon Him seated with His Father. There was need that God’s Mother should enter into her Son’s possessions, and as a Mother of God and handmaid, be reverenced by all creation. (Par. 21).


St John Damascene 676-749. The Icon or Image Doctor, Feast Dec 4th.


37 posted on 12/04/2011 5:01:48 PM PST by Salvation ("With God all things are possible." Matthew 19:26)
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To: All
The Word Among Us

Meditation: Isaiah 40:1-5,9-11

 “Comfort, give comfort to my people.” (Isaiah 40:1)

The people of Israel were in cri­sis. Their Temple in Jerusalem had been burned to the ground. Their king had been taken captive by King Nebuchadnezzar of Babylon. And most of the population had been forced out of their homes and sent into exile. Everything they treasured about their role as God’s holy peo­ple was taken away from them, and it left them traumatized, distressed, and despairing.

Into this sad situation, God told his prophet to speak words of com­fort and tenderness to his people. Don’t be afraid! The Lord is coming! He’s going to gather you all together, as a shepherd gathers his sheep, and bring you back home. So get ready to welcome him and his deliverance.

Like the Israelites, we all need comfort from God. None of us is free from the sadness that can come from life in this world. It could be the pain of an illness, the wound from a bro­ken relationship, or the challenge of unemployment or financial stress.

No matter what we are facing, God wants to comfort us. He wants to speak tenderly to our hearts and tell us that he is with us. And more than anything else, he wants to tell us that Jesus, who is “God with us,” has opened heaven for us. We don’t have to endure our challenges on our own. We don’t have to go through this life doing nothing but trying our best and hoping for bet­ter days. We have access to the grace and comfort, the power and wis­dom, of God himself!

So no matter how difficult or de­manding life may seem, let these truths bring you comfort. Remember that nothing prevented Jesus from coming two thousand years ago and that nothing will prevent him from coming again to bring heaven down to earth. And finally, remember that even as we wait for that time, noth­ing can prevent Jesus from coming into our hearts right now and com­forting us with his love.

“Lord, I need your comfort. Fill me with your joy and peace. Teach me how to open my heart to you. Jesus, I love you!”


Questions for Reflection or Group Discussion

(Isaiah 40:1-5,9-11; Psalm 85:9-14; 2 Peter 3:8-14; Mark 1:1-8)

1. In the beginning of the first reading, we hear these words, “Comfort. Comfort my people, says your God” (Isaiah 40:1). In what ways do these words reflect the Lord’s great love and mercy toward Israel? How was this “comfort,” which was foretold by John the Baptist, fulfilled in Jesus Christ? What is the “comfort” God is offering his people and each of us during this grace-filled Advent season?

2. What do these words from the responsorial psalm mean (or symbolize) in light of the coming of Christ? “Kindness and truth shall meet; justice and truth shall kiss” (Psalm 85:11). Many papal teaching have been focused on charity and justice as the way to “peace.” As we reflect on the coming of Jesus Christ, the Prince of Peace, during this Advent Season, what specifically can you do to help restore justice and peace within your family, or among family members — for example, in any relationships that have gone sour?

3. The second reading exhorts us to live holy lives with these words, “What sort of persons ought you to be in lives of holiness and godliness, waiting for and hastening the coming of the day of God” (2 Peter 3:11-12). Why do you think the author believed living holy lives would cause a hastening of the coming of Christ? What small steps or religious practices can you adopt this Advent in order to live “lives of holiness and godliness”?

4. The Gospel reading speaks of preparing the way of the Lord. What can you do this Advent/Christmas season to help your family, your friends, or your co-workers receive Christ, or deepen their relationship with him?

5. In the Gospel, St. John the Baptist also proclaims the need for repentance and forgiveness of sins. Make a commitment to receive the Sacrament of Reconciliation this Advent/Christmas season. What are some ways that you and your family can prepare for it, so that you and they will experience more deeply the Lord’s forgiveness of sins?

6. In today’s meditation, we hear these words: “None of us is free from the sadness that can come from life in this world. It could be the pain of an illness, the wound from a broken relationship, or the challenge of unemployment or financial stress.” In spite of these pains, wounds, and challenges, the meditation goes on to say that “No matter what we are facing, God wants to comfort us.” How can you open yourself in a greater way to God’s comfort?

7. Take some time now to pray that this Advent would be a special time of grace for you and your family - a time to experience the Lord’s, comfort, joy, and peace. Use the prayer at the end of the meditation as the starting point.


38 posted on 12/04/2011 5:02:58 PM PST by Salvation ("With God all things are possible." Matthew 19:26)
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A Christian Pilgrim

JOHN THE BAPTIZER APPEARED IN THE WILDERNESS 

(A biblical reflection on THE SECOND SUNDAY OF ADVENT, 4 December 2011) 

Gospel Reading: Mk 1:1-8 

First Reading: Is 40:1-5,9-11; Psalms: Ps 85:9-14; Second Reading: 2Pet 3:8-14 

The Scripture Text

The beginning of the Gospel of Jesus Christ, the Son of God. As it is written in Isaiah the prophet, “Behold, I send My messenger before thy face, who prepare thy way; the voice of one crying in the wilderness: Prepare the way of the Lord, make His paths straight – ” John the baptizer appeared in the wilderness, preaching a baptism of repentance for the forgiveness of sins. And there went out to him all the country of Judea, and all the people of Jerusalem; and they were baptized by him in the river Jordan, confessing their sins. Now John was clothed with camel’s hair, and had a leather girdle around his waist, and ate locusts and wild honey. And he preached, saying, “After me comes He who is mightier than I, the thong of whose sandals I am not worthy to stoop down and untie. I have baptized you with water; but He will baptize you with the Holy Spirit.” (Mk 1:1-8 RSV)

Have you ever noticed how important a role the “wilderness” plays in the Bible? The children of Abraham spent forty years wandering in the wilderness until they learned to trust in YHWH. Jeremiah prophesied that all those who survive the word of God’s judgment will find unending grace in their times of wilderness (Jer 31:2). Even Jesus spent time in the wilderness, praying and fasting in preparation for His public ministry (Mk 1:12-13). It seems that if you want to get close to the Lord, you will encounter the wilderness at one point or another.

What is our wilderness? It is our old life of sin and separation from God. It is that part of us that remains wild and untamed, not yet surrendered to the Lord.

The good news that we are preparing to celebrate at Christmas is that we do not have to wait until we have tamed the wilderness before we can come to Jesus. In fact, it works the other way around. We need to let Jesus in first, and then our wilderness will be gradually transformed.

Just as John the Baptist invited people into the wilderness to receive his baptism, so Jesus is inviting us into the wilderness in our lives. As we enter those darkened, wild places, we may be surprised to see Jesus right there, waiting for us. He is in those places where we feel the most barren and unattractive, offering us His healing and restoration. He is there, ready to clear away the brush, turn the burning sand into a lush garden, and fill the empty landscape with every possible good fruit.

Our sins are already forgiven. Jesus has already paid the price. All we need to do is run to Him on that crooked path and ask for His forgiveness and healing. He will make our path straight. This Advent, let us take advantage of the Sacrament of Reconciliation, where we can experience forgiveness in a concrete way. Know that as you confess your sins and are assured of Jesus’ forgiveness, you will experience Jesus’ refreshment and be able to start anew.

Short Prayer: Lord Jesus, thank You that You are ready to step into my wilderness and clean it up for me. Thank You for Your love and Your mercy. Help me to be more aware of my sins, so that I may bring them to You and know Your forgiveness. Amen. 


39 posted on 12/04/2011 5:04:22 PM PST by Salvation ("With God all things are possible." Matthew 19:26)
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To: All
 
Marriage = One Man and One Woman
Til' Death Do Us Part

Daily Marriage Tip for December 4, 2011:

“John (the Baptist) appeared in the desert proclaiming a baptism of repentance for the forgiveness of sins.” (Mk 1:3) In any marriage, hurts are inevitable and there is reason to forgive. It may not be major, like a sin, but often small, like a pinch. Is there anything to forgive today?


40 posted on 12/04/2011 5:05:44 PM PST by Salvation ("With God all things are possible." Matthew 19:26)
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To: All
Sunday Scripture Study

Second Sunday of Advent - Cycle B

December 4, 2011

Click here for USCCB readings

Opening Prayer  

First Reading: Isaiah 40:1-5,9-11

Psalm: 85:9-14

Second Reading: 2 Peter 3:8-14

Gospel Reading: Mark 1:1-8

  • This Sunday’s reading is from the opening of St. Mark’s Gospel. The shortest of the four Gospels, Mark is marked by a sense of immediacy, which goes well with the themes of vigilance and preparation, which characterize the season of Advent. Mark does not relate any genealogies or infancy narratives, but as his gospel opens we are immediately shown the events leading up to the beginning of Jesus’ preaching ministry (Mark 1:14).
  • We are also introduced to John the Baptist, Jesus’ cousin and precursor, who is preaching “a baptism of repentance for the forgiveness of sins,” that is, people were seeking forgiveness of their sins by their repentance. John’s baptism did not have the sacramental power to wash away sins like Christian baptism does as it lacked the power of the Holy Spirit conferred by Jesus after his Resurrection (verse 8; John 3:5, 20:22-23).
  • John the Baptist was identified as a kind of Elijah the prophet from the Old Testament (2 Kings 1:8), returned to usher in the Messianic age (verses 2-3; Malachi 3:23-24; Mark 9:11-13; Matthew 17:10-12; Luke 1:17). He will also figure prominently in next week’s Gospel reading and several of the daily Mass readings throughout Advent.

 

QUESTIONS:

  • In the 1st Reading, what is coming to an end for God’s people? How are they to prepare for what’s coming? What will it look like when it finally arrives?
  • In the 2nd Reading, what attitude does St. Peter advise us to have while awaiting the return of Jesus? With what does he say we should occupy ourselves during this time?
  • What does Mark (and the Church) mean by “the gospel [good news] of Jesus Christ” (verse 1)? How would you explain the basic message to someone who asked?
  • What do the contexts of the quotes in verses 2-3 (Malachi 3:1; Isaiah 40:3; Exodus 23:20) teach about the “coming one”?
  • Why is John the Baptist’s message so popular with the crowds (verses 4-5)? What does the Church teach about John (CCC 717-720)?
  • Given John’s message (verses 7-8) what type of person are the crowds anticipating (see Isaiah 32:15-20)?
  • What from your life illustrates what it means to “repent”? What can you do (or not do) to prepare for the Lord’s coming and to make this a more fruitful Advent?
  • John the Baptist prepared “the way of the Lord” (Matthew 3:3; Isaiah 40:3). Who prepared the way of the Lord in your life?
Catechism of the Catholic Church: §§ 151, 422, 523, 575, 696, 717-720, 2447

 

Neither repentance avails without grace, nor grace without repentance; for repentance must first condemn sin, that grace may blot it out. So then John, who was a type of the law, came baptizing for repentance, while Christ came to offer grace.

–St. Ambrose of Milan (ca. AD 380)


41 posted on 12/04/2011 5:31:42 PM PST by Salvation ("With God all things are possible." Matthew 19:26)
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Have an Advent that Changes Your Life
Pastor’s Column
2nd Sunday of Advent
December 4, 2011
 
But the day of the Lord will come like a thief, and then the heavens
will pass away with a mighty roar, and the elements will be dissolved by fire,
and the earth and everything done on it will be found out.    2 Peter 3
 
          It used to be said that Thanksgiving was the one national holiday that absolutely could not be commercialized (except for buying food), but that was until the “Black Friday” shopping phenomenon came along. It probably won’t be long until the stores will be open all day Thanksgiving for those who just can’t wait for Christmas (or can’t wait to get away from their relatives!).
 
          If only people could get as excited about their faith as they apparently do about shopping. When archaeologists search through the ruins of our civilization 2000 years from now, we might well be thought of as the “shopping mall people” because it will appear that this was where we spent most of our time. The problem is that what Christ has to offer doesn’t seem as attractive as a new iPad to many people, or they think they have time to pursue their faith later.  Yet, Christ may very well come sooner. Are you ready?
 
          As another Christmas approaches, the world seems to be more troubled than ever, but peace can still reign within us. The world may indeed end in 2012 as some doomsday people insist, but we are a people who know the future, and it belongs to the Lord. What will that future be like? It will be a world in which everything done on the earth will be found out. Advent, then, is a time to pursue the Lord once again.
 
          Peace and happiness simply cannot be found in a store. What our culture offers us are temporary pleasures, but it isn’t long before we are off looking for that next bargain or gadget or “must have” item. But what is Advent really all about? As I approach the end of another year, where is my life headed? What kind of person am I becoming? Is there enough room in my life for Christ, or do worries and cares take up all the space there? Our consumer culture can be lethal to our faith if we overemphasize it. What to do?
 
          Advent is a time to make up our minds to pursue holiness in our lives once again. What project will you and the Lord be doing together to prepare for Christmas? Saint Faustina speaks to us from her diary: Oh my Jesus, how very easy it is to become holy; all that is needed is a bit of good will. If Jesus sees this little bit of good will in the soul--and nothing can stop him—neither shortcomings nor falls—absolutely nothing. Jesus is anxious to help that soul, and if it is faithful to that grace from God, it can very soon attain the highest holiness possible for a creature here on earth…. Faithfulness to the inspirations of the Holy Spirit: that is the shortest route. (Diary #291). If only we give Jesus our hearts this Advent instead of simply running around, what wonders he would do for us!
                                                                                                Father Gary

42 posted on 12/04/2011 5:42:45 PM PST by Salvation ("With God all things are possible." Matthew 19:26)
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To: All
Advent II: The Baptist creates a storm!
 
"Make ready!"

The Word for 2nd Sunday of Advent:  http://usccb.org/bible/readings/120411.cfm

Is 40: 1-5, 9-11
Peter 3: 8-14
Mark 1: 1-8

There is nothing like a powerful Midwest thunderstorm to get your attention.  Having grown up in the Chicago area my memories of the summertime are basically: hot –humid-thundershowers.  Exactly in that order and the repetition of that pattern for at least four months. Strange as it might sound, I do miss those thunderstorms. Our weather here in the Northwest, though exciting at times, is rather wimpy by comparison.
 
With powerful winds, rolling thunder and crackling lighting in a matter of about 30 minutes you may find yourself without electricity and taking cover in the ever present basements just in case a tornado would sprout from the dark clouds above. 
Yet, just as quickly as those storms would unleash their muscle, in a short time, they would be over.  The aftermath left you peering out the windows to see branches or something larger on the ground. You’ve got to pay attention and respond quickly before it’s too late.
Not unlike our readings as we look to the Second Sunday of Advent.  The Mass will still sound a bit odd to many, including myself, as we adjust to the tone of our new translation and more expressive English but the real star of the show this Sunday is the “voice which cries out: In the desert prepare the way of the Lord!”
Like a turbulent Midwest thunderstorm, John the Baptist rolls on stage and creates quite a ruckus.  According to the opening lines of Mark’s Gospel this Sunday, this enigmatic figure, John the “dipper,” appears like a thunderclap.  As the last and greatest prophet of the Old Testament, John acts as a hinge on the door from one Testament to the next as he cries out: “Prepare the way of the Lord, make straight his paths.” (Mk1:1) Like a bulldozer or a powerful wind which can level tall trees, this guy will not be stopped.
But, who is listening to this crazy man dressed in “camels hair” who eats “locusts and wild honey?” Crazy he wasn’t.  Mark relates: “People of the whole Judean countryside and all the inhabitants of Jerusalem were going out to him and were being baptized by him in the Jordan River . . .” (Mk 1: 5).  People could spot a false prophet pretty well but there was nothing inauthentic about John.  He amassed followers and moved the hearts of many to repentance. 
But his mission was single minded – to prepare the hearts and minds of the people for the imminent coming of Jesus among them. Not with the force of violence and fear but a cry that calls us to attention: “One mightier than I is coming after me . . .” (Mk 1: 7). Jesus himself will appear as John did, like a clap of thunder, but will be more like the calm after the storm which restores life and releases the power to change.
As Isaiah says in our first reading:  “Comfort, give comfort to my people, says your God. Speak tenderly to Jerusalem . . . that her guilt is expiated.” (Is 40: 1-2).  
In a real sense, John was the evening news reported hot off the press, or hot off the high speed internet cable lines, that began the announcement of the Good news of God’s salvation.  Not in a body of laws, rules and regulations but in a person sent into our midst, Jesus the Christ the very Word of God made flesh. Like the signs in the sky of an approaching storm, the weather is about to greatly change!
Who is John for you?  A mere ancient biblical voice lost in the dust of history? Or, how and where does the cry of the Baptist happen today in this time and place? John called the throngs around the Jordan River to a change of heart and lifestyle; to a metanoia, to straighten out their lives and make the paths straight to recognize Christ when he comes.  In that way, we can be ready to let John go and be open to hear a new voice in Jesus. 
John’s voice is as essential today as in any age.  A few years ago, Forbes magazine entitled their 75th anniversary issue:  Why We Feel so Bad When We Have it so Good.” Various well known political and economic experts contributed to the issue.  One, historian Gertrude Himmelfarb, warned of our fascination with affluence and the unsettled discovery that, “economic and material goods are no compensation for social and moral ills.” Another writer, Peggy Noonan, speech writer for the late President Regan, commented that we have been formed as a people to expect endless happiness so our search has caused only despair.  
Powerful thoughts but not all together off the mark by any means. We hear this many times in our Christian faith and we go back to St. Augustine who recognized that his pursuit of happiness in sensual pleasure and material wealth was really a search for God who alone can satisfy us. “Late have I loved you . . .” St. Augustine admitted in prayer once he was brought to his own conversion.  
Advent is a time when we can step into the sandals of John the Baptist.  Since Christianity is a religion that speaks much about the future with great hope and longing, we can each in our own way not only prepare our personal hearts by the pruning and purifying and personal change that may be necessary to greet Christ among us at Christmas but become heralds of the good news as well.
In our Mass, we now hear at the dismissal: “Go and announce the Gospel of the Lord.”  So, let’s make a little thunder and lightning of our own this Advent season.
Almighty and merciful God,
may no earthly undertaking hinder those

who set out in haste to meet your Son,
but may our leaning of heavenly wisdom
gain us admittance to his company. 
Who lives and reigns with you in the unity of the Holy Spirit,
one God, for ever and ever.
(Collect: 2nd Sunday of Advent)
Fr. Tim

43 posted on 12/04/2011 5:52:49 PM PST by Salvation ("With God all things are possible." Matthew 19:26)
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To: All
Insight Scoop

“Prepare the way of the Lord, make straight his paths.”

A Scriptural Reflection on the Readings for December 4, 2011, the Second Sunday of Advent | Carl E. Olson

Readings:
• Is 40:1-5, 9-11
• Ps 85:9-10-11-12, 13-14
• 2 Pt 3:8-14
• Mk 1:1-8

“In my beginning is my end.” This line opens “East Coker,” the second section of T.S. Eliot’s poetic masterpiece, Four Quartets. It is followed by a haunting, elegiac reflection on the fragile and transitory nature of life as seen in the cycle of life and death in nature. What is the meaning of our short lives? What hope is man given in this passing world? In whom shall we trust for our salvation?

These questions are always with us, but gain in poignancy during Advent. While the entire liturgical year is ultimately oriented toward all that is heavenly and everlasting, Advent is especially focused on the end of our earthly lives. And, just as Eliot indicated, the beginning points to The End, a fact presented by St. Mark in his direct, urgent style: “The beginning of the gospel of Jesus Christ the Son of God.” 

More than a heading or title, this is a bold proclamation of the good news and joyful tidings of the life, death, and resurrection of Jesus Christ. It is the inspired declaration that the man Jesus of Nazareth is indeed the Messiah, the anointed one. He has come to deliver his people from sin and death, and to establish the reign of God among men. This announcement is made within the Gospel of Mark by St. Peter, a Jew following in the footsteps of Jesus, (Mk 8:29), and by the centurion, a Gentile standing at the foot of the Cross. In this way, the universal nature of the new covenant is revealed and professed.

But the first announcement in Mark’s Gospel is from the lips of St. John the Baptist, the voice crying out in the desert. John is the last of the Old Testament prophets, but he is “more than a prophet” (Lk. 7:26), a mysterious figure whose strange physical appearance is coupled with a striking message: “I have baptized you with water; he will baptize you with the Holy Spirit.” Ritual cleansing with water was not new to the Jews, but this baptism in the Jordan River was clearly meant to be different. The Jordan River, of course, was significant in its symbolism. The forty years of exodus in the wilderness had ended many hundreds of years earlier when Joshua led the Israelites across the river and into the promised land (Josh. 3). The Messiah, John indicated, is going to call the people to enter through water into a new promised land, a new Zion, a new Jerusalem. 

This beginning, rooted in the Old Covenant, provides the grace and forgiveness necessary for the end, what is described by St. Peter as the “new heavens and a new earth in which righteousness dwells” (2 Pet. 3:13). But this end is already present in the beginning. In the words of Eliot, “Home is where one starts from.” Baptism brings us home; it destroys sin, restores the divine life of God, and makes man a son of God. For “just as the gestation of our first birth took place in water,” remarks the Catechism, “so the water of Baptism truly signifies that our birth into the divine life is given to us in the Holy Spirit” (CCC 694). This is the comfort spoken of by Isaiah in today’s first reading; it is the peace, truth, justice, and salvation desired by the Psalmist. 

In listening to the cry of John the Baptist we hear the message of Advent: Prepare the way of the Lord by repenting of sin and embracing the divine life granted in baptism. Go to confession, spend additional time in prayer, and proclaim the Gospel in word and deed. By spending more time in prayer and contemplation, we open the way for the guidance of the Holy Spirit. “We must be still and still moving,” wrote Eliot of this spiritual purification, “Into another intensity/For a further union, a deeper communion.” And then we will recognize more deeply this truth, which concludes “East Coker”: “In my end is my beginning.”

(This "Opening the Word" column originally appeared in the December 7, 2008, edition of Our Sunday Visitor newspaper.)


44 posted on 12/04/2011 6:04:45 PM PST by Salvation ("With God all things are possible." Matthew 19:26)
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To: Salvation
Mark
  English: Douay-Rheims Latin: Vulgata Clementina Greek NT: Byzantine/Majority Text (2000)
  Mark 1
1 THE beginning of the gospel of Jesus Christ, the Son of God. Initium Evangelii Jesu Christi, Filii Dei. αρχη του ευαγγελιου ιησου χριστου υιου του θεου
2 As it is written in Isaias the prophet: Behold I send my angel before thy face, who shall prepare the way before thee. Sicut scriptum est in Isaia propheta : Ecce ego mitto angelum meum ante faciem tuam, qui præparabit viam tuam ante te. ως γεγραπται εν τοις προφηταις ιδου εγω αποστελλω τον αγγελον μου προ προσωπου σου ος κατασκευασει την οδον σου εμπροσθεν σου
3 A voice of one crying in the desert: Prepare ye the way of the Lord, make straight his paths. Vox clamantis in deserto : Parate viam Domini, rectas facite semitas ejus. φωνη βοωντος εν τη ερημω ετοιμασατε την οδον κυριου ευθειας ποιειτε τας τριβους αυτου
4 John was in the desert baptizing, and preaching the baptism of penance, unto remission of sins. Fuit Joannes in deserto baptizans, et prædicans baptismum pœnitentiæ in remissionem peccatorum. εγενετο ιωαννης βαπτιζων εν τη ερημω και κηρυσσων βαπτισμα μετανοιας εις αφεσιν αμαρτιων
5 And there went out to him all the country of Judea, and all they of Jerusalem, and were baptized by him in the river of Jordan, confessing their sins. Et egrediebatur ad eum omnis Judææ regio, et Jerosolymitæ universi, et baptizabantur ab illo in Jordanis flumine, confitentes peccata sua. και εξεπορευετο προς αυτον πασα η ιουδαια χωρα και οι ιεροσολυμιται και εβαπτιζοντο παντες εν τω ιορδανη ποταμω υπ αυτου εξομολογουμενοι τας αμαρτιας αυτων
6 And John was clothed with camel's hair, and a leathern girdle about his loins; and he ate locusts and wild honey. Et erat Joannes vestitus pilis cameli, et zona pellicea circa lumbos ejus, et locustas et mel silvestre edebat. ην δε ο ιωαννης ενδεδυμενος τριχας καμηλου και ζωνην δερματινην περι την οσφυν αυτου και εσθιων ακριδας και μελι αγριον
7 And he preached, saying: There cometh after me one mightier than I, the latchet of whose shoes I am not worthy to stoop down and loose. Et prædicabat dicens : Venit fortior post me, cujus non sum dignus procumbens solvere corrigiam calceamentorum ejus. και εκηρυσσεν λεγων ερχεται ο ισχυροτερος μου οπισω μου ου ουκ ειμι ικανος κυψας λυσαι τον ιμαντα των υποδηματων αυτου
8 I have baptized you with water; but he shall baptize you with the Holy Ghost. Ego baptizavi vos aqua, ille vero baptizabit vos Spiritu Sancto. εγω μεν εβαπτισα υμας εν υδατι αυτος δε βαπτισει υμας εν πνευματι αγιω

45 posted on 12/04/2011 6:10:34 PM PST by annalex (http://www.catecheticsonline.com/CatenaAurea.php)
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To: annalex
1. The beginning of the Gospel of Jesus Christ, the Son of God.

JEROME; Mark the Evangelist, who served the priest-hood in Israel, according to the flesh a Levite, having been converted to the Lord, wrote his Gospel in Italy, showing in it how even his family benefited Christ. For, commencing his Gospel with the voice of the prophetic cry, he shows the order of the election of Levi, declaring that John the son of Zachariah was sent forth by the voice of an angel, and saying, The beginning of the Gospel of Jesus Christ, the Son of God.

PSEUDO-JEROME; The Greek word 'Evangelium' means good tidings, in Latin it is explained, 'bona annunciatio,' or, the good news ; these terms properly belong to the kingdom of God and to the remission of sins; for the Gospel is that, by which conies the redemption of the faithful and the beatitude of the saints. But the four Gospels are one, and one Gospel is four. In Hebrew, His name is Jesus, in Greek, Soter in Latin, Salvator; but men say Christus in Greek, Messias in Hebrew, Unctus in Latin, that is, King and Priest.

BEDE; The beginning of this Gospel should be compared with that of Matthew, in which it is said, The book of the generation of Jesus Christ, the Son of David, the Son of Abraham. But here he is called the Son of God. Now from both we must understand one Lord Jesus Christ, Son of God, and of man. And fitly the first Evangelist names Him Son of man, the second, Son of God, that from less things our sense may by degrees mount up to greater, and by faith and the sacraments of the human nature assumed, rise to the acknowledgment of His divine eternity. Fitly also did He, who was about to describe His human generation, begin with a son of man, namely, David or Abraham. Fitly again, he who was beginning his book with the first preaching of the Gospel, chose rather to call Jesus Christ, the Son of God; for it belonged to the human nature to take upon him the reality of our flesh, of the race of the patriarchs, and it was the work of Divine power to preach the Gospel to the world.

HILARY; He has testified, that Christ was the Son of God, not in name only, but by His own proper nature. We are the sons of God, but He is not a son as we are; for He is the very and proper Son, by origin, not by adoption; in truth, not in name; by birth, not by creation.

2. As it is written in the Prophets, Behold, I send my messenger before your face, which shall prepare your way before you.
3. The voice of one crying in the wilderness, Prepare you the way of the Lord, make his paths straight.

BEDE; Being about to write his Gospel, Mark rightly puts first the testimonies of the Prophets, that he might notify to all, that what he should write was to be received without scruple of doubt, in that he showed that these things were beforehand foretold by the Prophets. At once, by one and the same beginning of his Gospel, he prepared the Jews, who had received the Law and the Prophets, for receiving the grace of the Gospel, and those sacraments, which their own prophecies had foretold; and he also calls upon the Gentiles, who came to the Lord by publishing of the Gospel, to receive and venerate the authority of the Law and the Prophets; whence he says, As it is written in the prophet Isaiah, Behold, &c.

JEROME; But this is not written in Isaiah, but in Malachi, the last of the twelve prophets.

PSEUD-CHRYS. But it may be said that it is a mistake of the writer. Otherwise it may be said, that he has compressed into one, two prophecies delivered in different places by two prophets; for in the prophet Isaiah it is written after the story of Hezekiah, The voice of one crying in the wilderness; but in Malachi, Behold, I send mine angel. The Evangelist therefore, taking parts of two prophecies, has put them down as spoken by Isaiah, and refers then here to one passage, without mentioning, however, by whom it is said, Behold, I send mine angel.

PSEUDO-AUG. For knowing that all things are to be referred to their author, he has brought these sayings back to Isaiah, who was the first to intimate the sense. Lastly, after the words of Malachi, he immediately subjoins, The voice of one crying in the wilderness, in order to connect the words of each prophet, belonging as they do to one meaning, under the person of the elder prophet.

BEDE; Or otherwise, we must understand, that, although these words are not found in Isaiah, still the sense of them is found in many other places, and most clearly in this which he has subjoined, The voice of one crying in the wilderness. For that which Mlalachi has called, the angel to be sent before the face of the Lord, to prepare His way, is the same thing as Isaiah has said is to be heard, the voice of one crying in the wilderness, saying, Prepare you the way of the Lord. But in each sentence alike, the way of the Lord to be prepared is proclaimed. It may be, too, that Isaiah occurred to the mind of Mark, in writing his Gospel, instead of Malachi, as often happens; which he would, however, without doubt correct, at least when reminded by other persons, who might read his work whilst he was yet in the flesh; unless he thought, that, since his memory was then ruled by the Holy Spirit, it was not without a purpose, that the name of one prophet had occurred to him instead of another. For thus whatever things the Holy Spirit spoke by the prophets, are implied each to have belonged to all, and all to each.

JEROME; By Malachi, therefore, the voice of the Holy Spirit resounds to the Father concerning the Son, who is the countenance of the Father by which He has been known.

BEDE; But John is called an angel not by community of nature, according to the heresy of Origen, but by the dignity of his office; for angel in Greek is in Latin, nuntius, (messenger,) by which name that man is rightly called, who was sent by God, that be might bear witness of the light, and announce to the world the Lord, coming in the flesh; since it is evident that all who are priests may by their office of preaching the Gospel be called angels, as time prophet Malachi says, The lips of the priest keep knowledge, and they seek the law at his mouth, because he is the Angel of the Lord of hosts.

THEOPHYL; The Forerunner of Christ, therefore, is called an angel, on account of His angelic life and lofty reverence. Again, where he says, Before your face, it is as if he said, Your messenger is near thee: whence is shown the intimate connection of the Forerunner with Christ; for those walk next to kings, who are their greatest friends. There follows, Who will prepare your way before you. For by baptism he prepared the minds of the Jews to receive Christ.

PSEUDO-JEROME; Or, the way of the Lord, by which he comes into men, is penitence, by which God comes down to us, and we mount up to Him. And for this reason the beginning of John's preaching was, Repent you.

BEDE; But as John might be called an angel because he went before the face of the Lord by his preaching, so he might also be rightly called a Voice, because, by his sound, he preceded the Word of the Lord. Wherefore there follows, The voice of one crying, &c. For it is an acknowledged thing that the Only-Begotten Son is called the Word of the Father, and even we, from having uttered words ourselves, know that the voice sounds first, in order that that word may afterwards be heard.

PSEUDO-JEROME; But it is called the voice of one crying, for we are wont to use a cry to deaf persons, and to those afar off, or when we are indignant, all which things we know applied to time Jews; for salvation is far from the wicked, and they stopped their ears like deaf adders, and deserved to hear indignation, and wrath, and tribulation from Christ.

PSEUD-CHRYS. But the prophecy, by saying, In the wilderness, plainly shows that the divine teaching was not in Jerusalem, but in the wilderness, which was fulfilled to the letter by John the Baptist in the wilderness of Jordan, preaching the healthful appearing of the Word of God. The worth of prophecy also shows that besides the wilderness, which was pointed out by Moses, where he made paths, there was another wilderness, in which it proclaimed that the salvation of Christ was present.

PSEUDO-JEROME; Or else the voice and the cry is in the desert, because they were deserted by the Spirit of God as a house empty, and swept out; deserted also by prophet, priest, and king.

BEDE; What he cried is revealed, in that which is subjoined, Prepare you the way of the Lord and make his paths straight. For whoever preaches a right faith and good works, what else does he but prepare the way for the Lord's coming to the hearts of His hearers, that the power of grace might penetrate these hearts, and the light of truth shine in them? And the paths he makes straight, 'when he forms pure thoughts in the soul by the word of preaching.

PSEUDO-JEROME; Or else, Prepare you the way of the Lord, that is, act out repentance and preach it; make his paths straight, that walking in the royal road we may love our neighbors as ourselves, and ourselves as our neighbors. For he who loves himself, and loves not his neighbor, turns aside to the right; for many act well, and do not correct their neighbor well, as Eli. He, on the other hand, who, hating himself loves his neighbor, turns aside to the left; for many, for instance, rebuke well, but act not well themselves, as did the Scribes and Pharisees. Paths are mentioned after the way because moral commands are laid open after penitence.

THEOPHYL; Or, time way is the New Testament, and the paths are the Old, because it is a trodden path. For it was necessary to be prepared for the way, that is, for time New Testament; but it was right that the paths of the Old Testament should be straightened.

4. John did baptize in the wilderness, and preach the baptism of repentance for the remission of sins.
5. And there went out to him all the land of Judea, and they of Jerusalem, and were all baptized of him in the river of Jordan, confessing their sins.
6. And John was clothed with camel's hair, and with a girdle of a skin about his loins; and he did eat locusts and wild honey;
7. And preached, saying, There comes one mightier than I after me, the latchet of whose shoes I am not worthy to stoop down and unloose.
8. I indeed have baptized you with water: but he shall baptize you with the Holy Ghost.

PSEUDO-JEROME. According to the above-mentioned prophecy of Isaiah, the way of the Lord is prepared by John, through faith, baptism, and penitence; the paths are made straight by the rough marks of the hair-cloth garment, the girdle of skin, the feeding on locust and wild honey, and the most lowly voice; whence it is said, John was in the wilderness. For John and Jesus seek what is lost in the wilderness; where the devil conquered, there be is conquered; where man fell, there he rises up. But the name John means the grace of God, and the narrative begins with grace. For it goes on to say, baptizing. For by baptism grace is given, seeing that by baptism sins are freely remitted. But what is brought to perfection by the bridegroom, is introduced by the friend of the bridegroom. Thus catechumens, (which word means persons instructed,) begin by the ministry of the priest, receive time chrism from the bishop. And to show this, it is subjoined, And preaching the baptism of repentance, &c.

BEDE; It is evident that John not only preached, but also gave to some the baptism of repentance; but he could not give baptism for the remission of sins. For remission of sins is only given to its by time baptism of Christ. It is therefore only said, Preaching the baptism of repentance for the remission of sins; for he preached a baptism which could remit sins, since he could not give it. Wherefore as he was the forerunner of the incarnate Word of the Father, by the word of his preaching, so by his baptism, which could not remit sins, he preceded that baptism, of penitence, by which sins are remitted.

THEOPHYL; The baptism of John had not remissions of sins, but only brought men to penitence. He preached therefore the baptism of repentance, that is, he preached that to which the baptism of penitence led, namely, remission of sins, that they who in penitence received Christ, might receive Him to the remission of their sins.

PSEUDO-JEROME; Now by John as by the bride groom's friend, the bride is brought to Christ as by a servant Rebecca was brought for Isaac; wherefore there follows, And there went out to him all, &c. For confession and beauty are in his presence, that is, the presence of the bridegroom. And the bride leaping down from the camel signifies the Church, who humbles herself on seeing her husband Isaac, that is, Christ. But the interpretation of Jordan, where sins are washed away, is 'an alien descent. For we heretofore aliens to God by pride, and by the sign of Baptism made lowly, and thus exalted on high.

BEDE; An example of confessing their sins and of promising to lead a new life, is held out to those who desire to be baptized, by those words which follow, confessing their sins.

CHRYS. Because indeed John preached repentance, he wore the marks of repentance in his garments and in his food, wherefore there follows, And John was clothed in camel's hair.

BEDE; It says, clothed in a garment of hair not in woolen clothes; the former is the mark of an austere garb, the latter of effeminate luxury. But the girdle of skins, with which he was girt, like Elias is a mark of mortification. And this meat, locusts and wild honey, is suited to a dweller in the wilderness, so that his object of eating was not the deliciousness of meats, but the satisfying of the necessity of human flesh.

PSEUDO-JEROME; The dress of John, his food, and employment, signifies the austere life of preachers, and that future nations are to be joined to the grace of God, which is John, both in their minds and in externals. For by camel's hair, is meant the rich among the nations; and by the girdle of skin, the poor, dead to the world; and by wondering locusts, the wise men of this world; who leaving the dry stalks to the Jews, draw off with their legs the mystic grain, and in the warmth of their faith leap up towards heaven; and the faithful, being inspired by the wild honey, are full-fed from the untilled wood.

THEOPH. Or else; The garment of camel's hair was significative of grief, for John pointed out, that he who repented should mourn. For sackcloth signifies grief; but the girdle of skins shows the dead state of the Jewish people. The food also of John not only denotes abstinence, but also shows forth the intellectual food, which the people then were eating, without understanding any thing lofty, but continually raising themselves on high, and again sinking to the earth. For such is the nature of locusts, leaping on high and again falling. In the same way the people ate honey, which had come from bees, that is, from the prophets; it was not however domestic, but wild, for the Jews had the Scriptures, which are as honey, but did not rightly understand them.

GREGORY; Or, by the kind itself of his food he pointed out the Lord, of whom he was the forerunner; for in that our Lord took to Himself the sweetness of the barren Gentiles, he ate wild honey. In that he in his own person partly converted the Jews, he received locusts for His food, which suddenly leaping up, at once fall to the ground. For the Jews leaped up when they promised to fulfill the precepts of the Lord; but they fell to the ground, when by their evil works they affirmed that they had not heard them. They made therefore a leap upwards in words, and fell down by their actions.

BEDE; The dress and food of John may also express of what kind was his inward walk. For he used a dress more austere than was usual, because he did not encourage the life of sinners by flattery, but chide them by the vigor of his rough rebuke; he had a girdle of skin round his loins, for he was one, who crucified his flesh with the affections and lusts. He used to eat locusts and wild honey, because his preaching had some sweetness for the multitude, whilst the people debated whether he was the Christ himself or not; but this soon came to an end, when his hearers understood that he was not the Christ, but the forerunner and prophet of Christ.

For in honey there is sweetness, in locusts swiftness of flight; whence there follows, And he preached, saying, there comes one mightier than I after me.

GLOSS. He said this to do away with the opinion of the crowd, which throughout that he was the Christ; but he announces that Christ is mightier than he, who was to remit sins, which he himself could not do.

PSEUDO-JEROME; Who again is mightier than the grace, by which sins are washed away which John signifies? He who seven times and seventy times seven remits sun. Grace indeed comes first, but remits sins once only by baptism, but mercy reaches to the wretched from Adam up to Christ through seventy-seven generations, and up to one hundred and forty-four thousand.

PSEUD-CHRYS. But lest he should be thought to say this by way of comparing himself to Christ, he subjoins, Of whom I am not worthy, &c. It is not however the same thing to loose the shoe-latchet, which Mark here says, and to carry his shoes, which Matthew says. And indeed the Evangelists following the order of the narrative, and not able to err in any thing, say that John spoke each of these sayings in a different sense. But commentators on this passage have expounded each in a different way. For he means by the latchet, the tie of the shoe. He says this therefore to extol time excellence of the power of Christ, and the greatness of His divinity; as if he said, Not even in the station of his servant aunt am I worthy to be reckoned. For it is a great thing to contemplate, as it were stooping down, those things which belong to the body of Christ, and to see from below tine image of things above, and to untie each of those mysteries, about the incarnation of Christ, which cannot be unraveled.

PSEUDO-JEROME; The shoe is in the extremity of the body; for in the end the Incarnate Savior is coming for justice, violence it is said by the prophet, Over Edom will I cast out my shoe.

GREGORY; Shoes also are made from the skins of dead animals. The Lord, therefore, coming incarnate, appeared as it were with shoes on His feet, for he assumed in His divinity the dead skins of our corruption. Or else; it was a custom among the ancients, that if a man refused to take as his wife the woman whom he ought to take, he who offered himself as her husband by right of kindred took off that man's shoe. Rightly then does he proclaim himself unworthy to loose his shoe-latchet, as if he said openly, I cannot make bare the feet of the Redeemer, for I usurp not the name of the Bridegroom, a thing which is above my deserts.

THEOPH. Some persons also understand it thus; all who came to John, and were baptized, through penitence were loosed from the bands of their sins by believing in Christ. John then in this way loosed the shoe-latchet of all the others, that is, the bands of sin. But Christ's shoe-hatchet he was not able to unloose, because be found no sin in Him.

BEDE; Thus then John proclaims the Lord not yet as God, or the Son of God, but only as a man mightier than himself. For his ignorant hearers were not yet capable of receiving the hidden things of so great a Sacrament, that the eternal Son of God, having taken upon Him the nature of man, bad been lately born into the world of a virgin; but gradually by the acknowledgment of His glorified lowliness, they were to be introduced to the belief of His Divine Eternity. To these words, however, he subjoins, as if covertly declaring that he was the true God, I baptize you with water, but he shall baptize you with the Holy Ghost. For who can doubt, that none other but God can give the grace of the Holy Ghost.

JEROME; For what is the difference between water and the Holy Ghost, who was borne over the face of the waters? Water is the ministry of man; but the Spirit is ministered by God.

BEDE; Now we are baptized by the Lord in the Holy Ghost, not only when in the day of our baptism, we are washed in the fount of life, to the remission of our sins, but also daily by the grace of the same Spirit we are inflamed, to do those things which please God.

Catena Aurea Mark 1
46 posted on 12/04/2011 6:11:17 PM PST by annalex (http://www.catecheticsonline.com/CatenaAurea.php)
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To: annalex


The Preaching of St John the Baptist

Baciccio
c. 1690
Oil on canvas, 181 x 172 cm
Musée du Louvre, Paris

47 posted on 12/04/2011 6:12:09 PM PST by annalex (http://www.catecheticsonline.com/CatenaAurea.php)
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To: All
Vultus Christi

Saint Barbara and Her Three Windows

 on December 3, 2011 7:20 PM
 
StBarbara.jpg

Saints in Advent

We celebrate the Holy Mysteries on December 4th in the company of two saints, both of them lights from the East: Saint Barbara, Virgin and Martyr, and Saint John Damascene, Priest and Doctor of the Church. Today I will remember at the altar the friends named Barbara whom God has placed in my life. Saint Barbara, according to the legend, was enclosed in a tower (some accounts say it was a bathhouse) by her pagan father. There were two windows in this improvised prison cell.

Three Windows

Taking advantage of her father's temporary absence, Barbara instructed the servants to make a third window in honour of the Most Holy Trinity. The light poured into Barbara's cell from three windows; her soul, meanwhile, was flooded by what Saint Benedict calls "the deifying light" of the Three Divine Persons. Thus was Saint Barbara found "vigilant in prayer and joyful in singing the divine praises" at the hour of her martyrdom. I can only imagine Saint Barbara praying, in her solitude, the sublime prayer of Blessed Elizabeth of the Trinity, O My God, Trinity Whom I Adore.

God is Light

In this, Saint Barbara speaks to all who feel hemmed in and imprisoned by the circumstances of life. To all who feel shut in and imprisoned, to all who live behind walls, Saint Barbara says, "Lift your eyes to the light of the Most Holy Trinity. Let the glorious radiance of the Three Divine Persons shine in your solitude." Her message is that of Saint Paul who says, "Mind the things that are above, not the things that are upon the earth. For you are dead; and your life is hid with Christ in God. When Christ shall appear, who is your life, then you shall appear with Him in glory" (Col 3:2-4). Her message is that of the Apostle John: "God is light, and in Him there is no darkness" (1 Jn 1:5).

At the Door

Captivity became for Saint Barbara a time of "eager anticipation" for the advent of Christ her Bridegroom. Today's Collect would have us await the advent of Christ, "untainted by the contagion of our former ways," and already "consoled by the presence of Him who is to come," in such wise that waiting becomes the adoration of His Face. Then when Christ knocks at the door, He will find us turned toward Him, vigilant in prayer, and joyful in singing His praises. "Behold," He says, "I stand at the gate, and knock. If any man shall hear my voice, and open to me the door, I will come in to him, and will sup with him, and he with me" (Ap 3:20).


48 posted on 12/04/2011 6:12:23 PM PST by Salvation ("With God all things are possible." Matthew 19:26)
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To: Salvation
Vultus Christi

Advent Vespers: Conditor Alme Siderum

 on December 3, 2011 5:05 PM |
 
vangogh%20starry%20night.jpg

The Orbit Determined By Christ

At the very moment when the Magi, guided by the star, adored Christ the new king, astrology came to an end, because the stars were now moving in the orbit determined by Christ. This scene, in fact, overturns the world-view of that time, which in a different way has become fashionable once again today. It is not the elemental spirits of the universe, the laws of matter, which ultimately govern the world and mankind, but a personal God governs the stars, that is, the universe; it is not the laws of matter and of evolution that have the final say, but reason, will, love--a Person. And if we know this Person and he knows us, then truly the inexorable power of material elements no longer has the last word; we are not slaves of the universe and of its laws, we are free.
Pope Benedict XVI, Spe Salvi

Until the Stars in Welcome Sing

This is my homespun translation of the seventh century hymn for Vespers in Advent: Conditor Alme Siderum. (John Mason Neale's translation is far superior to mine. Read it and hear the ancient syllabic melody here.) When Advent rolls round and I sing this hymn in Latin or in English translation, I see in my mind's eye Van Gogh's Starry Night. In the little church with the tall steeple at the bottom of the painting there must be a lingering scent of incense. Advent Vespers will have been sung. The Creator of the Starry Night is glorified.

O Light unconquered, Source of Light,
Whose radiance kindles stars and sun,
Shine tenderly on us this night;
Creation groans until you come.

Immense your grief to see our plight:
When sin had shrouded all, you came.
True Dayspring bursting death's dark bands,
Emmanuel, your saving name!

Night weighed upon a weary world
When silently you pitched your tent,
Enclosed within the Virgin's womb
True man, true God from heaven sent.

So to the darkened world in need,
Eternal Word, you came as man.
You came as Bridegroom, swift and strong,
To claim the prize the course you ran.

Until your glory fills the skies,
Until the stars in welcome sing,
Until you judge both small and great,
From sin, protect us, Sovereign King.

To God the Father, God the Son,
To God the Spirit ever be
Glad songs of praise throughout the night
While faith adores the mystery. Amen.


49 posted on 12/04/2011 6:16:16 PM PST by Salvation ("With God all things are possible." Matthew 19:26)
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To: All
Regnum Christi

Preparing for Christmas
U. S. A. | SPIRITUAL LIFE | SPIRITUALITY
Second Sunday of Advent (December 4, 2011).

December 4, 2011
Second Sunday of Advent
Father Frank Formolo, LC

Mark 1: 1-8
The beginning of the gospel of Jesus Christ the Son of God. As it is written in Isaiah the prophet: Behold, I am sending my messenger ahead of you; he will prepare your way. A voice of one crying out in the desert: “Prepare the way of the Lord, make straight his paths.” John the Baptist appeared in the desert proclaiming a baptism of repentance for the forgiveness of sins. People of the whole Judean countryside and all the inhabitants of Jerusalem were going out to him and were being baptized by him in the Jordan River as they acknowledged their sins. John was clothed in camel’s hair, with a leather belt around his waist. He fed on locusts and wild honey. And this is what he proclaimed: “One mightier than I is coming after me. I am not worthy to stoop and loosen the thongs of his sandals. I have baptized you with water; he will baptize you with the Holy Spirit.”

Introductory Prayer: Lord, you have given me a new day. You have given me a new opportunity to prepare myself for your coming. I believe that you will be with me as I continue my preparation for your coming. My heart is too often divided and pulled in many directions, but I wish to set my heart totally on you so that I may love you above all else. Here I am, Lord, to know you and love you more.

Petition: Lord, help me to embrace the proper means to prepare myself for your birth.

1. John’s Preparation: John the Baptist ate locusts and wild honey. He wore a camel’s skin and lived in the desert. In this manner he prepared himself for Christ’s coming. He had removed himself from the world and all its temptations. He had forfeited his home, family, friends, money, food—anything that would take him from fulfilling his call to prepare the way of the Lord. Compared with John, how deep is my commitment? What price am I prepared to pay to be his messenger?

2. John’s Preaching: John invites sinners to repentance. Thousands flock to hear him. His words move the people to listen. Probably more so does his example: the people see him living in the desert without the comforts of the world. By his actions they see he is truly a prophet. He has come before them so he can rightly call them to conversion. His life has strength and meaning that is not found in others. If we could be authentic and lead by our example, how many more people would be moved to follow Christ!

3. John’s Repentance: Those who recognize their sins go to John to be baptized. For John, baptism is a symbol of repentance: the people recognize their sins and ask God for forgiveness. John knows that he cannot forgive sins, but he realizes that it is important for everyone to take the step of being sorry and asking God to forgive them. John tells us clearly that it is Jesus Christ, the Lamb of God, who will forgive sins. He doesn’t try to obtain forgiveness in another way. He doesn’t try to circumvent God’s plan. God has given us the sacrament of confession for the forgiveness of our sins. How often do I take advantage of it? Am I faithful to frequent confession, or perhaps do I look elsewhere for the grace that only comes from confession?

Conversation with Christ: Lord, often I fall into the ways of the world, letting myself get caught up in its comforts and vanities. Teach me that only one thing matters: you and the life you promised us. Help me to use this Advent to prepare for your coming by detaching myself from the ways of the world and by being an example of Christian living for those whom I encounter. Help me to be always faithful to my frequent confession.

Resolution: Today I will make a sacrifice, foregoing a comfort or something I really like, and offer it up to God in reparation for sins––especially my own.


50 posted on 12/04/2011 6:39:05 PM PST by Salvation ("With God all things are possible." Matthew 19:26)
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