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1. MAKE THE SIGN OF THE CROSS THEN SAY"May the Word of the Lord be on my mind, on my lips, and in my heart."

2. COMPOSITION OF PLACE—

"VISIO DIVINA" OR SEEING WITH HEART'S EYES (Optional)

Use this image of Joseph The Carpenter with child Jesus by Georges de La Tour. The experience of beholding a La Tour is like looking at the sunset; your eyes are glued to the dimming sun. Sit down and quietly gaze and marvel at this masterpiece by someone who went through a similar crisis. Ten years after painting this in 1652, Georges and his family perished in an epidemic in LunĂ©ville France. GUIDED MEDITATION—1—Does it mirror or evoke any feeling of the darkness surrounding you these days? Focus on your breathing and feel your own heart beat; listen.—2—Move your attention towards the candle light. Feel in your eyes the warmth. Look at those dirty fingernails. Ask to be cleansed.—3—Notice too the straight flame unperturbed by Joseph's breath. Imagine the heart of God beating and aflame with divine love for you.—4—Join in! The light leads the way as you enter the scene. As you move closer towards Jesus' glowing face you likewise move away from the cast shadows. Look at that face with a bright smile. Thank him briefly.—5—Now, tell Jesus quietly your heart's desires. Imagine his gaze shifting on you. Jesus says "BE STILL AND KNOW THAT I AM GOD" (Ps 46:10). Use this image as a screen saver.

Readings at Mass - 23 Dec 2020

Here is your Readings at Mass page for 23 Dec 2020: 23 December.

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Wednesday 23 December 2020

23 December 
  (optional commemoration of Saint John of Kęty, Priest)

Liturgical Colour: Violet.

Readings at Mass


First reading
Malachi 3:1-4,23-24

Before my day comes, I will send you Elijah my prophet

The Lord God says this: Look, I am going to send my messenger to prepare a way before me. And the Lord you are seeking will suddenly enter his Temple; and the angel of the covenant whom you are longing for, yes, he is coming, says the Lord of Hosts. Who will be able to resist the day of his coming? Who will remain standing when he appears? For he is like the refiner’s fire and the fullers’ alkali. He will take his seat as refiner and purifier; he will purify the sons of Levi and refine them like gold and silver, and then they will make the offering to the Lord as it should be made. The offering of Judah and Jerusalem will then be welcomed by the Lord as in former days, as in the years of old.
  Know that I am going to send you Elijah the prophet before my day comes, that great and terrible day. He shall turn the hearts of fathers towards their children and the hearts of children towards their fathers, lest I come and strike the land with a curse.

Responsorial Psalm
Psalm 24(25):4-5,8-9,10,14
Stand erect, hold your heads high, because your liberation is near at hand.
Lord, make me know your ways.
  Lord, teach me your paths.
Make me walk in your truth, and teach me:
  for you are God my saviour.
Stand erect, hold your heads high, because your liberation is near at hand.
The Lord is good and upright.
  He shows the path to those who stray,
He guides the humble in the right path,
  He teaches his way to the poor.
Stand erect, hold your heads high, because your liberation is near at hand.
His ways are faithfulness and love
  for those who keep his covenant and law.
The Lord’s friendship is for those who revere him;
  to them he reveals his covenant.
Stand erect, hold your heads high, because your liberation is near at hand.

Gospel Acclamation
Alleluia, alleluia!
King of the peoples
  and cornerstone of the Church,
come and save man,
  whom you made from the dust of the earth.
Alleluia!

GospelLuke 1:57-66

'His name is John'

The time came for Elizabeth to have her child, and she gave birth to a son; and when her neighbours and relations heard that the Lord had shown her so great a kindness, they shared her joy.
  Now on the eighth day they came to circumcise the child; they were going to call him Zechariah after his father, but his mother spoke up. ‘No,’ she said ‘he is to be called John.’ They said to her, ‘But no one in your family has that name’, and made signs to his father to find out what he wanted him called. The father asked for a writing-tablet and wrote, ‘His name is John.’ And they were all astonished. At that instant his power of speech returned and he spoke and praised God. All their neighbours were filled with awe and the whole affair was talked about throughout the hill country of Judaea. All those who heard of it treasured it in their hearts. ‘What will this child turn out to be?’ they wondered. And indeed the hand of the Lord was with him.
Copyright © 1996-2020 Universalis Publishing Limited: see www.universalis.com. Scripture readings from the Jerusalem Bible are published and copyright © 1966, 1967 and 1968 by Darton, Longman & Todd, Ltd and Doubleday, a division of Random House, Inc, and used by permission of the publishers. Text of the Psalms: Copyright © 1963, The Grail (England). Used with permission of A.P. Watt Ltd. All rights reserved.

Calendar used: Philippines

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3. 'TODAY, IF YOU HEAR HIS VOICE HARDEN NOT YOUR HEARTS'—EVER IN SCRIPTURE, IT IS THE HEART THAT PRAYS. In today's featured Gospel reading, what word or phrase from God speaks to me?—PONDER—LISTEN—THANK—SURRENDER. I contemplate God's word and then end with the OUR FATHER...

Nota bene: Featured after 3:00 PM Philippine Time (PHT) +0800 UTC are the readings for tomorrow.
4. "FATHER, WE THANK YOU FOR SPEAKING TO US TODAY THROUGH YOUR HOLY WORD."
“Now, Master, you may let your servant go in peace, according to your word, for my eyes have seen your salvation, which you prepared in the sight of all the peoples: a light for revelation to the Gentiles, and glory for your people Israel” (Luke 2:29-32).

†FINAL BLESSING

"MAY ALMIGHTY GOD BLESS US, IN THE NAME OF THE FATHER, AND OF THE SON, AND OF THE HOLY SPIRIT. AMEN." The sign of the cross strengthens us in temptations and difficulties (CCC 2157). Wherever you are be mindful of your interior silence. "If we do not understand silence, we do not understand God."

Optional/Alternative Prayer Exercise

THE EXAMEN PRAYER at the Center for Ignatian Spirituality Philippines [www.cisphil.org]

Lectio Divina: The three concentric circles of Divine Reading

I. The first outermost circle–the mind–which is the first place or vessel of the Word. It is said that "Empty vessels make the most sound" so feed your mind with the words of Scripture and let it reverberate–never straining to "study or solve." But, first, it might be good to empty your mind of other concerns. When ready, slowly read and pause to listen to the echoes by remembering a word or a phrase from what you read. Be reverent towards the Word of God that is expressed in human words and fashioned in the light of the same Spirit through whom it was written (cf. DV 12).

II. It is not just the mind that is fed by the Word of God. Move to the second inner circle–the mouth, the door to our enteric nervous system which is commonly called gut. When we were still in the womb of our mothers both our gut and our brain originated from the same clump of tissue called the neural crest. One section turned into the brain between our ears and another section turned into the "second brain" or one's gut where one half of all our nerve cells are located. One can "think" through the gut. Our capacity for feeling and expressing emotions depend primarily on it and, only secondarily, the brain. There is a Native American proverb which says, “Listen or your tongue will make you deaf.” Like the mind, the mouth needs quieting down too. They are like Siamese twins; when one is sick, the other may also be sick. The reason you do not hear others' feelings or even your own emotions is because your busy tongue has made you deaf.

III. Only after we have quieted our two brains that we can move into the third innermost circle–the heart. The opening words of the Rule of St Benedict says, “Listen with the ear of the heart.” What does it mean to listen with the ear of the heart? Once, I got a feedback from one of my silent retreatants who thanked me for listening not only to words but to movements of the heart. It dawned on me that it does make a big difference to listen in this way. As always in the Scripture, it is the heart that prays. Deep in the heart, prayer happens. So allow the "ears of your heart"–to do their work. It is a difficult and challenging journey though to listen with the heart if it is not emptied, e.g., of one's own assumptions, prejudices and past hurts. However, this is the most privileged place to receive the Word of Scripture. This innermost place of prayer is what the desert fathers and mothers call “purity of heart” where we come face to face with God. "Even before there is a word on my tongue, behold, O LORD, You know it all" (Ps 139:4). Although God knows already what you might have there in your heart, talk to Him and listen reverently to His words of consolation.