DAILY MASS READINGS (December 21, 2019)


Reading 1 (SONGS 2:8-14)

A reading from the Song of Songs

Hark! my lover–here he comes
springing across the mountains,
leaping across the hills.
My lover is like a gazelle
or a young stag.
Here he stands behind our wall,
gazing through the windows,
peering through the lattices.
My lover speaks; he says to me,
“Arise, my beloved, my dove, my beautiful one,
and come!
“For see, the winter is past,
the rains are over and gone.
The flowers appear on the earth,
the time of pruning the vines has come,
and the song of the dove is heard in our land.
The fig tree puts forth its figs,
and the vines, in bloom, give forth fragrance.
Arise, my beloved, my beautiful one,
and come!

“O my dove in the clefts of the rock,
in the secret recesses of the cliff,
Let me see you,
let me hear your voice,
For your voice is sweet,
and you are lovely.”

– The word of the Lord.

or (ZEPHANIAH 3:14-18A)

A reading from the Book of the Prophet Zephaniah

Shout for joy, O daughter Zion!
Sing joyfully, O Israel!
Be glad and exult with all your heart,
O daughter Jerusalem!
The LORD has removed the judgment against you,
he has turned away your enemies;
The King of Israel, the LORD, is in your midst,
you have no further misfortune to fear.
On that day, it shall be said to Jerusalem:
Fear not, O Zion, be not discouraged!
The LORD, your God, is in your midst,
a mighty savior;
He will rejoice over you with gladness,
and renew you in his love,
He will sing joyfully because of you,
as one sings at festivals.

– The word of the Lord.

Responsorial Psalm (PSALM 33:2-3, 11-12, 20-21)

R. (1a; 3a) Exult, you just, in the Lord! Sing to him a new song.
Give thanks to the LORD on the harp;
with the ten-stringed lyre chant his praises.
Sing to him a new song;
pluck the strings skillfully, with shouts of gladness.
R. Exult, you just, in the Lord! Sing to him a new song.
But the plan of the LORD stands forever;
the design of his heart, through all generations.
Blessed the nation whose God is the LORD,
the people he has chosen for his own inheritance.
R. Exult, you just, in the Lord! Sing to him a new song.
Our soul waits for the LORD,
who is our help and our shield,
For in him our hearts rejoice;
in his holy name we trust.
R. Exult, you just, in the Lord! Sing to him a new song.


R. Alleluia, alleluia.
O Emmanuel, our King and Giver of Law:
come to save us, Lord our God!
R. Alleluia, alleluia.

Gospel (LUKE 1:39-45)

A reading from the Holy Gospel according to Luke

Mary set out in those days
and traveled to the hill country in haste
to a town of Judah,
where she entered the house of Zechariah
and greeted Elizabeth.
When Elizabeth heard Mary’s greeting,
the infant leaped in her womb,
and Elizabeth, filled with the Holy Spirit,
cried out in a loud voice and said,
“Most blessed are you among women,
and blessed is the fruit of your womb.
And how does this happen to me,
that the mother of my Lord should come to me?
For at the moment the sound of your greeting reached my ears,
the infant in my womb leaped for joy.
Blessed are you who believed
that what was spoken to you by the Lord
would be fulfilled.”

– The Gospel of the Lord.

Reflection: The Visitation is one of the transpiring events concerning the Incarnation story, particularly the Second Joyful Mystery in the Holy Rosary. It doesn’t only pertain to the Blessed Mother visiting her cousin, Saint Elizabeth, who is at her sixth month, but it also pertains greatly to God visiting his people, especially here dignifying two women who are expected to deliver the one who would prepare the way of the promised light (Saint John the Baptist in Elizabeth’s womb) and the one who really is true promised light of the world (Jesus Christ in the womb of Mama Mary). Theologians and Catholic Bible scholars would use this Gospel passage and relate it with the story of King David conquering Jerusalem and rejoicing at the sight of the Ark of the Covenant based on 2 Samuel 6. Just as David leaped for joy at the sight of the Ark, so it is with John the Baptist in the womb of Elizabeth upon seeing the Child to be born in Mary’s womb. David also said, “How can the Ark of the Lord come to me” (Cf. 2 Samuel 6:9)? It is similar with Elizabeth when she said, “How is it that the mother of my Lord should come to me (Cf. Luke 1:39)? Mary is the New Ark of the New Covenant because she carries in her womb Jesus Christ, the fulfillment of the Old Testament Law. And among all the Four Gospels, only Saint Luke gives importance to this event at Ein Karem because one of the focal points of his Gospel is the role of women. Mary accepts the will of God by becoming of the Mother of the Savior, then she visits Elizabeth not only to give aid to her cousin who will give birth at such an old age, but also to bring God’s salvation in that household. As for Elizabeth, she feels the Precursor leaping in her womb, gives thanks to God for this wonderful plan of salvation, and blesses Mary as “most blessed among all women” (second line of the Ave Maria) because our Blessed Mother has accepted and believed in the divine will. As we journey down this Advent road, may we undergo the Ein Karem experience by recognizing God’s visitation because he has a very important message for us. May we also show our gratitude of his presence among us by observing and obeying his plan with faith and humility. Let this Christmas not only be for our enjoyment, but also to be the bearers of joy to others.

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