Christmas Season Scripture, Music and Prayers

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

The Epiphany of the Lord

 

A Light for All Nations

 

God of light,

on the first day of creation

you filled the world with your light;

you created humans in your image and likeness

and gave them this place of light for their home.

But they chose darkness, so you sent prophets

with the promise of a great Light.

You gave us your Son, the Light of the World,

a Light so radiant that all nations

would be drawn to him for all ages,

bringing gifts and offering praise.

May we always walk by his light

and never lose sight of him.

May we bring him the best we have,

a total offering of ourselves,

as Jesus offered himself completely for us.

We pray through his Most Holy Name. Amen.

 

 

Sunday, January 6, 2019

A Revelation to the Gentiles

 

Today’s Readings: Isaiah 60:1–6; Psalm 72:1–2, 7–8, 10–11, 12–13; Ephesians 3:2–3a, 5–6; Matthew 2:1–12. The message of Christ’s birth comes first to poor Jewish shepherds in the nearby countryside. They find Jesus just as the angel had said and return home praising and glorifying the Lord. Later, mysterious Magi from distant lands, following a star, come to see the newborn king to do him homage and give him precious gifts.

This pattern of revelation—first to the Jews and then to the Gentiles—is repeated during Jesus’ lifetime and the early days of the Church. During his ministry, Jesus says, “I was sent only to the lost sheep of the house of Israel” (Matthew 15:24); but he heals others who have great faith. After his Resurrection, he tells the Apostles to “make disciples of all nations” (Matthew 28:19a); but at first much of their time is spent preaching the Gospel to Jews. When Paul, a persecutor of Christians, meets Jesus on the road to Damascus, he becomes a zealous Apostle. Jesus calms the fears of a disciple who is afraid of Paul by reassuring him that Paul “is a chosen instrument of mine to carry my name before Gentiles, kings, and Israelites” (Acts 9:15). With the tireless travels and preaching of Paul, and the eventual acceptance of the Gentiles by the other Apostles, the Church is established in communities far from Jerusalem.

The visit of the Magi foreshadows the spread of Christianity to the entire world. The birth of Jesus is indeed “good news of great joy that will be for all the people” (Luke 2:10).

This Week at Home

Monday, January 7

The Kingdom of God

After forty days in the desert, Jesus begins his public ministry, announcing “Repent, for the kingdom of heaven is at hand.” He will preach tirelessly the kingdom of heaven, speaking in parables—stories with everyday people and familiar events for us to ponder. What is the kingdom? Where is it? When is it? If we listen carefully to the parables, we may begin to penetrate this mystery. Today’s Readings: 1 John 3:22—4:6; Psalm 2: 7bc–8, 10–12a; Matthew 4:12–17, 23–25.

 

Tuesday, January 8

Jesus Feeds Us

Jesus first teaches the five thousand and then feeds them. He calls them “sheep without a shepherd,” and his heart is moved with pity. Luke uses similar words to describe the Good Samaritan’s response to the injured man of the parable. When one’s heart is moved with pity, compassionate acts follow. Jesus shows us compassion every time we attend Mass: first he gives us the Word, and then he feeds us with his Body and Blood. What more could we want? Today’s Readings: 1 John 4:7–10; Psalm 72:1–2, 3–4, 7–8; Mark 6:34–44.

 

Wednesday, January 9

The Cry of the Poor

John continues his treatise on love: “If God so loved us, we also must love one another.” For the people of Israel, love must be shown especially to the poor. Psalm 72 speaks of the king: “He rescues the poor when they cry out, / the oppressed who have no one to help. / He shows pity to the needy and the poor / and saves the lives of the poor.” Do we look for these same traits in our leaders? In ourselves? How can we show concern for the poor during these cold days of winter? Today’s Readings: 1 John 4:11–18; Psalm 72:1–2, 10, 12–13; Mark 6:45–52.

 

Thursday, January 10

God’s Purpose

After forty days of prayer and fasting, Jesus visits his hometown synagogue in Nazareth, reads from the scroll, and declares that he is the fulfillment of the prophetic passage. He then travels to other towns to “proclaim the good news of the kingdom of God, because for this purpose I have been sent” (Luke 5:43). Some of us may remain in our hometown, but some need to leave to fulfill God’s purpose. Prayer is essential so we can know God’s will and what we must do to accomplish it. Today’s Readings: 1 John 4:19—5:4; Psalm 72:1–2, 14 and 15bc, 17; Luke 4:14–22a.

 

Friday, January 11

Thy Will Be Done

Luke’s Gospel account highlights the posture of a leper asking Jesus for a cure: “he fell prostrate.” To fall is to lose control; to be prostrate is to make oneself little before another who is great. In this gesture, the leper shows both his complete dependence on Jesus and his complete faith in his ability to heal. The leper adds the words “if you wish”; Jesus responds, “I do will it.” In our prayer, do we humble ourselves before God, trusting that his will is what is best for us? Today’s Readings: 1 John 5:5–13; Psalm 147:12–13, 14–15, 19–20; Luke 5:12–16.

 

Saturday, January 12

I Must Decrease

The world would have us believe that increasing our wealth and fame will lead to happiness. Yet here is John the Baptist, whose call has been to prepare the way for the Savior, saying, “he must increase; I must decrease” once Jesus comes on the scene. As we age, retire from work, and lose our health, our active life decreases. If we have raised children, our interaction with them decreases when they leave home and make their own home. May we be gracious like John the Baptist, strong in prayer and desiring only that Christ increase. Today’s Readings: 1 John 5:14–21; Psalm 149:1–2, 3–4, 5–6a and 9b; John 3:22–30.

 

 

The Baptism of the Lord

 

The Beloved Son

 

Father God,

you made known the Sonship of Jesus

at the moment of his baptism

and announced to all

that you were pleased with him.

Certain of your affirmation,

and living in the power of the Spirit,

Jesus would have the fervor to announce your kingdom:

compassion to forgive sins, heal the sick, and raise the dead;

and courage to face abandonment, betrayal, and death.

Awaken us from our indifference

to the total self-giving of Christ.

Change our passivity to passion

so we might have the fervor, compassion, and courage

to follow in his footsteps.

Through Christ our Lord. Amen

 

 

Sunday, January 13, 2019

Baptized and Sent Forth

 

Today’s Readings: Isaiah 42:1–4, 6–7; Psalm 29:1–2, 3–4, 3, 9–10; Acts 10:34–38; Luke 3:15–16, 21–22. At Jesus’ birth, the sky fills with angels singing his glory and a star to guide kings from a far-off land to adore and bring him precious gifts. After those marvelous events, Jesus spends thirty years leading a quiet life in Nazareth. In God’s time, he comes on the scene while John is baptizing and insists that John baptize him. In that moment the Holy Trinity is revealed, as the Spirit of God descends on Jesus in the form of a dove, and the Father’s voice from heaven claims Jesus as his beloved Son. Blessed by the Father and filled with the Holy Spirit, Jesus embarks on his public ministry. His mandate is to bring justice to the nations: to be “a light for the nations, / To open the eyes of the blind, / to bring out prisoners from confinement, / and from the dungeon, those who live in darkness.”

At our Baptism, the Holy Trinity is present as God the Father frees us from sin and gives us new birth by water and the Holy Spirit, and we become a new creation clothed in Christ and enlightened by him. We are invited to participate in the very life of the Trinity! The rite of Baptism gives us our mandate: to “walk always as a child of the light.” Talk with your family or a friend about what those words might mean for the baptized. What is the work of children of the light? Talk with God about what those words might mean in your life. What is the particular work to which God is calling you?

 

This Week and Beyond

Thursday, January 24

St. Francis de Sales

Today we celebrate a saint of the late sixteenth/early seventeenth-century who was ahead of his time. St. Francis wrote and spoke about the laity’s call to holiness when many people thought only priests and nuns could be holy. We can be thankful for people like St. Francis who paved the way for the Second Vatican Council’s renewed call to holiness for all people. Today’s Readings: Hebrews 7:25—8:6; Psalm 40:7–8a, 8b–9, 10, 17; Mark 3:7–12.

 

Friday, January 25

The Conversion of St. Paul the Apostle

Before he ascends to the Father, Jesus gives his Apostles the commission to “proclaim the gospel to every creature” and to baptize. Paul did not hear these words, and in fact persecuted early Christians until he was converted by an encounter with the Risen Christ. He went on to become one of the greatest evangelizers of the early Church, responsible for much of its growth. The Lord never ceases calling us to himself. Anyone who responds can be transformed and become a new creation in Christ. Today’s Readings: Acts 22:3–16; Psalm 117:1bc, 2; Mark 16:15–18.

 

Saturday, January 26

Sts. Timothy and Titus, Bishops

Paul traveled more than ten thousand miles by land and sea to preach the Gospel and establish Christian communities. Such extensive work required collaborators. Timothy and Titus accompanied him but also traveled alone to early communities in their role as bishops. Timothy died a martyr’s death at the hand of unbelievers; Titus lived to be ninety-three years old. Today’s Readings: 2 Timothy 1:1–8; Psalm 96:1–2a, 2b–3, 7–8a, 10; Mark 3:20–21.

 

 

Saturday, February 2

The Presentation of the Lord

In today’s Gospel we meet people who have long awaited Jesus, “the consolation of Israel.” Both Simeon, “righteous and devout,” and Anna, who worships “night and day with fasting and prayer,” are filled with the Holy Spirit and recognize the child brought to the Temple. Do you recognize Jesus in the people and events of your life? What can you do to keep the Holy Spirit alive in you? Today’s Readings: Malachi 3:1–4; Psalm 24:7, 8, 9, 10; Hebrews 2:14–18; Luke 2:22–40.

 

 

Thursday, February 14

Sts. Cyril, Monk, and Methodius, Bishop

Sts. Cyril and Methodius were brothers who lived in ninth-century Greece. As missionaries to Eastern Europe, they gained familiarity with Slavic languages and translated the Gospel accounts using an alphabet developed by Cyril. A later version of that alphabet is still in use in Eastern Europe and Russia. On this day devoted to love, we can celebrate the love of Cyril and Methodius for the Slavic people as they worked tirelessly to bring them the Gospel in their native tongue. Today’s Readings: Genesis 3:1–25; Psalm 32:1–2, 3, 4–5; Mark 7:24–30.

 

 

Friday, February 22

The Chair of St. Peter the Apostle

Peter is the first Apostle to confess Jesus as “the Messiah, the Son of the living God.” Jesus, aware that such faith could only come from God, names Peter the rock on which he will build his church. The very human Peter, who will later deny Christ and bitterly regret his sin, accepts his role with humility in a spirit of service. His first letter images early Church leaders as shepherds and urges them to be examples to their flock, remembering that the “chief Shepherd” is Christ. Perhaps Peter, like King David who first prayed Psalm 23, found consolation in the knowledge that God was shepherding him. Today’s Readings: 1 Peter 5:1–4; Psalm 23:1–3a, 4, 5, 6; Matthew 16:13–19.

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

© 2018 Liturgy Training Publications. 800-933-1800. Written by Barbara Matera. Scripture texts are taken from the New American Bible, revised edition © 2010, 1991, 1986, 1970, Confraternity of Christian Doctrine, Inc., Washington, DC. All rights reserved. Used by permission. Permission to publish granted by the Archdiocese of Chicago, on March 9, 2018.

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

Mary, the Holy Mother of God

 

Gentle and Loving

 Loving God,

who is revealed through the simple birth of your Son Jesus,

in the gentle and loving touch of Mary

and the secure and protecting touch of Joseph,

help us to know you this day.

May our lives find a home with you,

and our families be secure under your protection.

May the blessings of home, parents,

family, and community

be a spark of new life and profound love.

We ask this 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.

 

 

  

 

 

 

The Holy Family of Jesus, Mary, and Joseph

 

 

 

 

 


 

The Epiphany of the Lord—A Light for All Nations

God of light, on the first day of creation you filled the world with your light; you created humans in your image and   likeness and gave them this place of light for their home. But they chose darkness, so you sent prophets with the   promise of a great Light. You gave us your Son, the Light of the World, a Light so radiant that all nations would be drawn to him for all ages, bringing gifts and offering praise. May we always walk by his light and never lose sight of him. May we bring him the best we have, a total offering of ourselves, as Jesus offered himself completely for us. We pray through his Most Holy Name. Amen.

Sunday, January 6, 2019—A Revelation to the Gentiles

Today’s Readings: Isaiah 60:1–6; Psalm 72:1–2, 7–8, 10–11, 12–13; Ephesians 3:2–3a, 5–6; Matthew 2:1–12. The message of Christ’s birth comes first to poor Jewish shepherds in the nearby countryside. They find Jesus just as the angel had said and return home praising and glorifying the Lord. Later, mysterious Magi from distant lands, following a star, come to see the newborn king to do him homage and give him precious gifts.

This pattern of revelation—first to the Jews and then to the Gentiles—is repeated during Jesus’ lifetime and the early days of the Church. During his ministry, Jesus says, “I was sent only to the lost sheep of the house of Israel” (Matthew 15:24); but he heals others who have great faith. After his Resurrection, he tells the Apostles to “make disciples of all nations” (Matthew 28:19a); but at first much of their time is spent preaching the Gospel to Jews. When Paul, a persecutor of Christians, meets Jesus on the road to Damascus, he becomes a zealous Apostle. Jesus calms the fears of a disciple who is afraid of Paul by reassuring him that Paul “is a chosen instrument of mine to carry my name before Gentiles, kings, and Israelites” (Acts 9:15). With the tireless travels and preaching of Paul, and the eventual acceptance of the Gentiles by the other Apostles, the Church is established in communities far from Jerusalem.

The visit of the Magi foreshadows the spread of Christianity to the entire world. The birth of Jesus is indeed “good news of great joy that will be for all the people” (Luke 2:10).

 

Monday, January 7—The Kingdom of God

After forty days in the desert, Jesus begins his public ministry, announcing “Repent, for the kingdom of heaven is at hand.” He will preach tirelessly the kingdom of heaven, speaking in parables—stories with everyday people and familiar events for us to ponder. What is the kingdom? Where is it? When is it? If we listen carefully to the parables, we may begin to penetrate this    mystery. Today’s Readings: 1 John 3:22—4:6; Psalm 2: 7bc–8, 10–12a; Matthew 4:12–17, 23–25.

Tuesday, January 8—Jesus Feeds Us

Jesus first teaches the five thousand and then feeds them. He calls them “sheep without a shepherd,” and his heart is moved with pity. Luke uses similar words to describe the Good Samaritan’s response to the injured man of the parable. When one’s heart is moved with pity, compassionate acts follow. Jesus shows us compassion every time we attend Mass: first he gives us the Word, and then he feeds us with his Body and Blood. What more could we want? Today’s Readings: 1 John 4:7–10; Psalm 72:1–2, 3–4, 7–8; Mark 6:34–44.

Wednesday, January 9—The Cry of the Poor

John continues his treatise on love: “If God so loved us, we also must love one another.” For the people of Israel, love must be shown especially to the poor. Psalm 72 speaks of the king: “He rescues the poor when they cry out, / the oppressed who have no one to help. / He shows pity to the needy and the poor / and saves the lives of the poor.” Do we look for these same traits in our leaders? In ourselves? How can we show concern for the poor during these cold days of winter? Today’s Readings: 1 John 4:11–18; Psalm 72:1–2, 10, 12–13; Mark 6:45–52.

Thursday, January 10—God’s Purpose

After forty days of prayer and fasting, Jesus visits his hometown synagogue in Nazareth, reads from the scroll, and declares that he is the fulfillment of the prophetic passage. He then travels to other towns to “proclaim the good news of the kingdom of God, because for this purpose I have been sent” (Luke 5:43). Some of us may remain in our hometown, but some need to leave to fulfill God’s purpose. Prayer is essential so we can know God’s will and what we must do to accomplish it. Today’s Readings: 1 John 4:19—5:4; Psalm 72:1–2, 14 and 15bc, 17; Luke 4:14–22a.

Friday, January 11—Thy Will Be Done

Luke’s Gospel account highlights the posture of a leper asking Jesus for a cure: “he fell prostrate.” To fall is to lose control; to be prostrate is to make oneself little before another who is great. In this gesture, the leper shows both his complete dependence on Jesus and his complete faith in his ability to heal. The leper adds the words “if you wish”; Jesus responds, “I do will it.” In our prayer, do we humble ourselves before God, trusting that his will is what is best for us? Today’s Readings: 1 John 5:5–13; Psalm 147:12–13, 14–15, 19–20; Luke 5:12–16.

Saturday, January 12—I Must Decrease

The world would have us believe that increasing our wealth and fame will lead to happiness. Yet here is John the Baptist, whose call has been to prepare the way for the Savior, saying, “he must increase; I must decrease” once Jesus comes on the scene. As we age, retire from work, and lose our health, our active life decreases. If we have raised children, our interaction with them decreases when they leave home and make their own home. May we be gracious like John the Baptist, strong in prayer and desiring only that Christ increase. Today’s Readings: 1 John 5:14–21; Psalm 149:1–2, 3–4, 5–6a and 9b; John 3:22–30.