Readings for the Dawn Mass, celebrated at dawn on Christmas Day:
First reading: Extracted from the prophet Isaiah 62:11-12
This the Lord proclaims to the ends of the earth:
Say to the daughter of Zion, ‘Look, your saviour comes,
the prize of his victory with him, his trophies before him.’
They shall be called ‘The Holy People’, ‘the Lord’s Redeemed.’
And you shall be called ‘The-sought-after’, ‘City-not-forsaken.’
Responsorial: Psalm 97:1, 6, 11-12
This day new light will shine upon the earth: the Lord is born for us.
The Lord is king, let earth rejoice, let all the coastlands be glad.
The skies proclaim his justice; all peoples see his glory.
Light shines forth for the just and joy for the upright of heart.
Rejoice, you just, in the Lord; give glory to his holy name.
Second reading: Extracted from the letter of Saint Paul to Titus 3:4-7
When the kindness and love of God our saviour for mankind were revealed, it was not because he was concerned with any righteous actions we might have done ourselves; it was for no reason except his own compassion that he saved us, by means of the cleansing water of rebirth and by renewing us with the Holy Spirit which he has so generously poured over us through Jesus Christ our saviour.
He did this so that we should be justified by his grace, to become heirs looking forward to inheriting eternal life.
Glory to God in the highest heaven,
and peace to men who enjoy his favour.
Gospel Reading: Extracted from the holy Gospel according to Luke 2:15-20
When the angels had gone from them into heaven, the shepherds said to one another, ‘Let us go to Bethlehem and see this thing that has happened which the Lord has made known to us.’
So they hurried away and found Mary and Joseph, and the baby lying in the manger. When they saw the child they repeated what they had been told about him, and everyone who heard it was astonished at what the shepherds had to say.
As for Mary, she treasured all these things and pondered them in her heart.
And the shepherds went back glorifying and praising God for all they had heard and seen; it was exactly as they had been told.
Readings for the daytime Mass on Christmas Day:
First reading: Extracted from the prophet Isaiah 52:7-10
How beautiful on the mountains, are the feet of one who brings good news,
who heralds peace, brings happiness, proclaims salvation, and tells Zion,
‘Your God is king!’
Listen! Your watchmen raise their voices, they shout for joy together,
for they see the Lord face to face, as he returns to Zion.
Break into shouts of joy together, you ruins of Jerusalem;
for the Lord is consoling his people, redeeming Jerusalem.
The Lord bares his holy arm in the sight of all the nations,
and all the ends of the earth shall see the salvation of our God.
Responsorial Psalm 98:1-6
All the ends of the earth have seen the salvation of our God.
Sing a new song to the Lord for he has worked wonders.
His right hand and his holy arm have brought salvation.
The Lord has made known his salvation; has shown his justice to the nations.
He has remembered his truth and love for the house of Israel.
All the ends of the earth have seen the salvation of our God.
Shout to the Lord, all the earth, ring out your joy.
Sing psalms to the Lord with the harp with the sound of music.
With trumpets and the sound of the horn acclaim the King, the Lord.
Second reading: Extracted from the Sermon: Hebrews 1:1-6
At various times in the past and in various different ways, God spoke to our ancestors through the prophets; but in our own time, the last days, he has spoken to us through his Son, the Son that he has appointed to inherit everything and through whom he made everything there is.
He is the radiant light of God’s glory and the perfect copy of his nature, sustaining the universe by his powerful command; and now that he has destroyed the defilement of sin, he has gone to take his place in heaven at the right hand of divine Majesty.
So he is now as far above the angels as the title which he has inherited is higher than their own name.
God has never said to any angel: You are my Son, today I have become your father; or: I will be a father to him and he a son to me. Again, when he brings the First-born into the world, he says: Let all the angels of God worship him.
A hallowed day has dawned upon us.
Come, you nations, worship the Lord,
for today a great light has shone down upon the earth.
Gospel Reading: Extracted from the holy Gospel according to John 1:1-18
In the beginning was the Word: and the Word was with God and the Word was God.
He was with God in the beginning.
Through him all things came to be, not one thing had its being but through him.
All that came to be had life in him and that life was the light of men,
a light that shines in the dark, a light that darkness could not overpower.
A man came, sent by God. His name was John.
He came as a witness, as a witness to speak for the light,
so that everyone might believe through him.
He was not the light, only a witness to speak for the light.
The Word was the true light that enlightens all men; and he was coming into the world.
He was in the world that had its being through him,
and the world did not know him.
He came to his own domain and his own people did not accept him.
But to all who did accept him he gave power to become children of God,
to all who believe in the name of him who was born not out of human stock
or urge of the flesh or will of man but of God himself.
The Word was made flesh, he lived among us, and we saw his glory,
the glory that is his as the only Son of the Father, full of grace and truth.
John appears as his witness. He proclaims:
‘This is the one of whom I said:
He who comes after me ranks before me because he existed before me.’
Indeed, from his fullness we have, all of us, received – yes, grace in return for grace,
since, though the Law was given through Moses,
grace and truth have come through Jesus Christ.
No one has ever seen God;
it is the only Son, who is nearest to the Father’s heart, who has made him known.
It was Christmas Day on 25 December 2013.
The Readings that were read in the Eucharistic Celebrations all over the world on the days 24 to 25 December are shown on the previous page & above.
We have extracted the Homilies of Blessed Pope John Paul II, Pope Benedict XVI & Pope Francis I based on the aforesaid Readings to share with you, so that you could similarly be encouraged:
HOMILY OF HIS HOLINESS JOHN PAUL II
Christmas, 24 December 1998
1. “Be not afraid; for behold, I bring you good news of a great joy... For to you is born this day in the city of David a Saviour, who is Christ the Lord” (Luke 2:10-11).
On this Holy Night, the Liturgy invites us to celebrate with joy the great event of the birth of Jesus in Bethlehem. As we have just heard in the Gospel of Luke, Jesus is born into a family poor by material standards, but rich in joy. He is born in a stable, for there is no place for him in the inn (cf. Luke 2:7); he is placed in a manger, for there is no cradle for him; he comes into the world completely helpless, without anyone’s knowledge, and yet he is welcomed and recognized first by the shepherds, who hear from the angel the news of his birth.
The event conceals a mystery. It is revealed by the choirs of heavenly messengers who sing of Jesus’ birth and proclaim glory “to God in the highest and on earth peace among men with whom he is pleased” (Luke 2:14). Through the ages their praise becomes a prayer which rises from the hearts of the throngs who on Christmas Night continue to welcome the Son of God.
2. Mysterium: event and mystery. A man is born, who is the Eternal Son of the Almighty Father, the Creator of heaven and earth: in this extraordinary event the mystery of God is revealed. In the Word who becomes man the miracle of the Incarnate God is made manifest. The mystery sheds light on the event of the birth: a baby is adored by the shepherds in the lowly stable, at Bethlehem. He is “the Savior of the world”, “Christ the Lord” (cf. Luke 2:11). Their eyes see a newborn child, wrapped in swaddling cloths and placed in a manger, and in that “sign”, thanks to the inner light of faith, they recognize the Messiah proclaimed by the Prophets.
3. This is Emmanuel, God-with-us, who comes to fill the earth with grace. He comes into the world in order to transform creation. He becomes a man among men, so that in him and through him every human being can be profoundly renewed. By his birth he draws us all into the sphere of the divine, granting to those who in faith open themselves to receiving his gift the possibility of sharing in his own divine life.
This is the meaning of the salvation which the shepherds hear proclaimed that night in Bethlehem: “To you is born a Saviour” (Luke 2:11). The coming of Christ among us is the centre of history, which thereafter takes on a new dimension. In a way, it is God himself who writes history by entering into it. The event of the Incarnation thus broadens to embrace the whole of human history, from creation until the Second Coming. This is why in the Liturgy all creation sings, voicing its own joy: the floods clap their hands, all the trees of the wood sing for joy, and the many coastlands are glad (cf. Psalms 98:8, 96:12; 97:1).
Every creature on the face of the earth receives the proclamation. In the astonished silence of the universe, the words which the Liturgy puts on the lips of the Church take on a cosmic resonance: Christus natus est nobis. Venite, adoremus!
4. Christ is born for us; come, let us adore him! My thoughts already turn to Christmas next year when, God willing, I shall inaugurate the Great Jubilee with the opening of the Holy Door. It will be a truly great Holy Year, for in a completely unique way it will celebrate the two thousandth anniversary of the event and mystery of the Incarnation, in which humanity reached the apex of its calling. God became man in order to give man a share in his own divinity.
This is the good news of salvation; this is the message of Christmas! The Church proclaims it tonight, by means of my words too, for the peoples and nations of the whole earth to hear: Christus natus est nobis - Christ is born for us. Venite, adoremus! Come, let us adore him!
29 December 2013